Nine years later, 80% of Indians are still not convinced the world’s largest biometric ID system is secure

Nine years later, 80% of Indians are still not convinced the world’s largest biometric ID system is secure

  • A new survey finds that 80% of Indians don’t trust the Aadhaar card program.
  • Respondents agree that the government needs to take data protection more seriously.
  • The government had previously signed an affidavit for the Supreme Court, stating that the Aadhaar database can neither be hacked nor breached.
The Aadhaar card scheme, a 12-digit unique identity number for residents in India, has been embroiled in controversy since its initiation in 2009. Nine years down the line, citizens still don’t trust the world’s largest biometric ID system.

A survey conducted by Velocity MR, a market research and analysis company, concluded that eight out of 10 respondents were concerned about the security of their Aadhar data and felt the government should be more proactive about data protection. This comes from taking 5,800 respondents into consideration, across 8 tier-1 cities in India, including the National Capital Region.

The Aadhaar conundrum

Headlines that call the security of Aadhaar into the question rear their head every few months. Regardless of whether it’s a French researcher or ZDNet, the issue lies with the government’s reiterations of the Aadhaar system being ‘ hack-proof’.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the government agency behind Aadhaar cards has said, “The Aadhaar data, including biometric information, is fully safe and secure.” Even the government filed an affidavit with the Supreme Court in lieu of the Aadhaar case, that claimed that the data collected through the system cannot be breached or hacked.

Security in itself is not a zero-sum game. Technology evolves at such velocity that safeguards becoming obsolete is always a concern, while also being inevitable. That being said, a system cannot be completely secure, it can only be sufficiently prepared.

The Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal goes a long way in proving the same. It’s one of reasons why the conversation has veered from obtaining consent to getting ‘ valid’ consent. The same survey, when asking about Facebook usage, found that 1-in-3 users are going to reduce the amount of information they share on the social networking platform, though they aren’t ready to leave it altogether.

Because, let’s be honest, there’s always a weak link or a point of vulnerability. The question is, how long will it be before someone finds it.