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Can't use Aadhaar for forensic matches: UIDAI tells Delhi HC

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New Delhi, May 5: The UIDAI has opposed before the Delhi High Court a petition for identification of an unknown accused by using the Aadhaar Data bank and said that sharing of biometric information or use of biometric information for any purpose other than the generation of the Aadhaar number and its authentication is impermissible.

Cant use Aadhaar for forensic matches: UIDAI tells Delhi HC

In its status report filed in response to the petition by the prosecution, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said that the biometric information is unique to an individual and is sensitive information that needs to be protected to thwart any possibility of misuse and the relief sought by the petitioner would be squarely contrary to Section 29 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016.

The prosecution sought directions to UIDAI to match the fingerprints and photograph of the unknown accused who allegedly committed the offences of robbery and murder, and provide information concerning their identity. UIDAI said that "core biometric information" has been defined in the Aadhaar Act to mean fingerprint, IRIS scan, or other biological attributes and there is a clear prohibition against sharing or using core biometrics for any reason whatsoever.

"As is evident from the above-mentioned provisions, sharing of biometric information or use of biometric information for any purpose other than the generation of the Aadhaar number and authentication under the Aadhaar Act is impermissible. "No core biometric information collected or created under the Aadhaar Act, 2016 (as amended) and Regulations made thereunder, shall be shared with anyone for any reason whatsoever, or used for any purpose other than generation of Aadhaar numbers and authentication under the Aadhaar Act, 2016 (as amended)," the status report said.

In the status report, UIDAI asserted that no Aadhaar data can be shared by any individual or entity without the consent and the reliefs in question would are not only contrary to the mandate of the Aadhaar Act but also a Supreme Court decision which held that no core biometric can be directed to be shared with anyone whatsoever or used for any purpose other than that permitted in the Aadhaar Act.

Even otherwise, the status report said, the UIDAI does not collect biometric information based on technologies, standards, or procedures suitable for forensic purposes. UIDAI said that the photograph, demographic information, and authentication records of an Aadhaar number holder may be shared by the authority in certain cases in accordance with Section 33 of the Aadhaar Act but in absence of the Aadhaar number, it is technically not feasible to provide the photographs of an unknown accused, as is sought, and such information cannot be provided without giving an opportunity of hearing to the concerned Aadhaar number holder.

It explained that biometrics data is collected by UIDAI for the purposes of de-duplication of residents and to ensure the uniqueness of Aadhaar numbers. "Biometric information includes 10 fingerprints, 2 IRIS, and a photograph of the resident. The biometrics information is used for de-duplication of residents and to ensure uniqueness of Aadhaar number," the report said. "In view of the submissions made hereinabove, the present petition is liable to be dismissed being devoid of any merit," it added. PTI

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