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By Yatish Yadav

Published: 08th June 2014 01:58 AM


NEW DELHI:  Your biometric and biographic data collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for the 12-digit unique Aadhaar number could well be at Fort Meade, the headquarters of the US spy agency NSA.

Intelligence agencies that had forewarned the government two years ago about the vulnerability of Aadhaar data, owing to involvement of foreign players, are livid over the latest NSA disclosures that the US was prying on the biometric database.

Needless to say, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) is in a tizzy. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s recent revelation that the American intelligence agency was covertly collecting biometric data of people from across the world has them worried sick.

Central intelligence agencies had warned the government about a possible security breach in Aadhaar, which is considered the world’s largest biometric database.

The Aadhaar programme under the UIDAI involved several foreign vendors and private companies for storage and collection of individual data, including iris scan and fingerprints. In 2012, the IB warned the state about loopholes in Aadhaar, but the government continued with the enrolment process, sidestepping security concerns.

The NSA top secret documents leaked last week point to the covert operation. “Identity Intelligence is exploiting pieces of information that are unique to an individual to track, exploit and identify targets…,” the papers stated.

Three types of data is being mined by the NSA — biometric, biographic and contextual. Biometric data shows an individual’s physical or behavioural traits like face, iris, fingerprints and voice, etc. Biographic data gives details of life history, including address, school and profession, while contextual data throws light on one’s travel history and financial bank details.

Although, the US Government had earlier scrapped Aadhaar-like project for its residents, it surprisingly mounted covert operations to infiltrate biometric database in other countries. The US decision to not allow biometric profiling of residents was followed by countries like China, Australia and the UK.

The domestic intelligence agencies raised the contentious provision in the contract agreement that allows foreign vendors to keep the biometric data for the next seven years, making it easy prey for the NSA.

“The contract agreement signed by the UIDAI with foreign vendors is absurd. Private companies can easily share it with the US spy agency. We have seen how they arm twist private players to gain foothold in their server,” a top intelligence official said, adding the UIDAI also had arrangements with certain private firms for technology assistance.

Read mor ehere- http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Aadhaar-Data-Minefield-Sends-Warning-Bells-Ringing/2014/06/08/article2268476.ece