UID/Aadhaar
Public Interest Exclusive
Aadhaar de-duplication myth busted. Any answers, Mr Nilekani?

One person from Kerala enrolled and successfully received two Aadhaar numbers. This raises serious question over the de-duplication theory and practices of UIDAI
 

Aadhaar or the unique identification (UID) number is being enforced by the governments and the de-facto tagging institution, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) by claiming uniqueness of the number. However, one person from Kerala has busted the myth created by UIDAI and its chairman Nandan Nilekani.

 

According to a report in Matrubhoomi, a Kerala-based newspaper, PV Narayanan, a resident of Panatthadi panchayat received two Aadhaar numbers: 548780623023 and 356459270677. The names on both these letters issued by UIDAI are same, with slight different photos. Narayanan probably may have registered at two places or centres. But, surprisingly, his fingerprints seem to have passed the so-called ‘robust’ de-duplication test of UIDAI. Since Aadhaar includes an iris scan, this too seems to have been missed.

 

As Moneylife has pointed out, both the union government and UIDAI were in such a hurry that they neglected the basic principle of pilot testing and size of sample. For over 1.2 billion UID numbers, they have used data from just 20,000 people, in pairs, as the sample and on the basis of the results, gone ahead with the UID number through the 'Aadhaar' project. (How UIDAI goofed up pilot test results to press forward with UID scheme)

 

The case of Narayanan also mocks the false positive identification rate (FIPR) theory of UIDAI. Earlier, speaking about the FIPR, the UIDAI had said, "We will look at the point where the FPIR (i.e. the possibility that a person is mistaken to be a different person) is 0.0025%". This means, for every 1 lakh comparisons, there would be two and a half false positives. On a large scale, it means for a population of over 120 crore, there would be 18 lakh crore false positives, or, for every single Indian resident there would be 15,000 false positives! (Click to see the calculations)

 

The International Biometric Group (IBG) testing also shows that performance can vary drastically within technologies-some fingerprint solutions, for example, had next to no errors during testing, while others rejected nearly 1/3rd of enrolled users. "Most interestingly, the testing shows that over time, many biometric systems are prone to incorrectly rejecting a substantial percentage of users. Verifying a user immediately after enrolment is not highly challenging to biometric systems. However, after six weeks, testing shows that some systems' error rates increase ten-fold," said the research, consulting and integration firm, which works closely with the biometric industry. The report is titled "Real-World Performance Testing".

 

Maybe the UIDAI and its registrar have thought the second enrolment of Narayanan from Kerala as false positive and issued another Aadhaar number. Hope the UIDAI chairman would be able to find out ‘original and true’ Narayayan from these two biometric-based Aadhaar numbers!

 

User

COMMENTS

Devika

3 years ago

Aadhar card is a sad joke. Tomorrow, they will match your fingerprints and iris scan with any terrorist and do an Ishrat Jahan on you. You can call me a conspiracy theorist, but there's ample proof now, that Aadhar is duplicable. Maybe the government uses the database of fake Aadhars to launder or embezzle money. If hundreds of Kalavatis can be Sahara investors, then why not hundreds of me or you? Will the real one please raise his or her hand?

Avinash Murkute

3 years ago

My family members enrolled AADHAR two years back. One member has not received the original Card although it was generated and could be downloaded online. Email sent to AADHAR was not replied and probably not read. Where is the accountability?

Vaibhav Dhoka

3 years ago

My wife and daughter got Aadhar registration two and half months back with no update from concerned agency.If one again goes for re-registration will it not be duplication?Inform

Ramani Venkatraman

3 years ago

Recently, after obtaining Aadhaar number and taking the print-out of their electronic output, I approached my bank (a leading private bank) where I was told to come back with the original card issued by Aadhaar authorities. I do not know honestly whether I would get it from them nor is there any communication to that effect and even if so, when. So, if the numbers cannot be linked and the original is needed, it means the very beginning goes to the age-old concepts.. so, in my opinion it is a total failure!!! I think PAN card is far better an identification.

uttamkumar dubey

3 years ago

Hi moneylife, pls rewrite this article with due verification.The comments creates a confusion on the Moneylife's stand towards UID.

We want an unbiased and authentic view.

thnks

Krishnaswami CVR

3 years ago

you were relentless against the AAdhar concept and have in one of the articles indicated that the scheme was put in fast track mode to satisfy some technical companies from us. Once again this adds to your arrows.

Sanjeev B

3 years ago

The key issues here are
1. Trust and 2. Control
1. I don't trust the government with my details.
2. I have no control over how my personal is going to be used.
These are powerful enough reasons for me to stay away from Aadhar as long as legally possible.
But this is not true for everyone: if I were someone for whom a gas cylinder subsidy is more valuable than my personal identity (and unfortunately it very likely is for millions of us Indians), I would enroll as soon as possible.

sohan modak

3 years ago

Forget it. Nilekani will not answer. He is the holi cow!

REPLY

uttamkumar dubey

In Reply to sohan modak 3 years ago

Nation wants to know, when the search for our identity will be over.Or in other words, how long we will live with Identity crisis?
will it end at Voters Id,LPG ID,Passport,PAN, KYC, UID or sm other ID which will be slapped on our face every year? Will there be a common consensus between all govt functionaries SEBI,RBI, state govt, national govt,Election commission to make use of one Identity? Or every passing govt will have a new ID to assign to the taxpayers?

Korath

3 years ago

Aadhaar is purely harmless and optional. It has only benefits and does not harm anyone except somebody who is trying to impersonate or cheat. critics of Aadhaar can mostly be classified into two... Ignorant or ?

sivasankaran

3 years ago

CAN ANY BODY EXPLAIN WHAT ARE THE PERILS OF BIOMETRIC IF STOLEN OR COMPROMISED?WHETHER THE EARTH WILL VANISH IN A DAY?

uttamkumar dubey

3 years ago

Can we have a conclusive and refined version of this subject.

Most of us i believe would have missed the track as there is no check n balances :) on the reply part of it.

rgds,
uttam

Mandar Kulkarni

3 years ago

This scandalous project called Aadhaar is likely to get scrapped soon. Lot of money is wasted so far; should not waste any more.

Ram Das

3 years ago

This article seemed to rehash claims made by Mr. Moss in 2010. Sadly, calculations done by Mr. Moss were simply wrong. The errors were pointed out by Murali when the original article came out. Money life, please consult any reputable mathematician and you will find that Mr. Moss's math is humbung. Reference: http://www.planetbiometrics.com/article-.... Go to the bottom to read where Mr. Moss has goofed up in his calculations.

It is time to stop shouting "earth is in the center because I saw sun rise to the east".

Get your maths right first.

REPLY

Mandar Kulkarni

In Reply to Ram Das 3 years ago

Errors in those calculations are not enough to say that using biometrics for such a large number of citizen is feasible. We keep facing issues with biometrics even where the count is few thousands. When it multiplies into millions and billions, it will just not work. Aadhaar is technically not a feasible project.

Ram Das

In Reply to Mandar Kulkarni 3 years ago

Is it so? We have three large scale examples of public published results that show that using fingerprint and iris in large scale system work.
UIDAI published results using 84 million enrollments. Accuracy is over 99.8%.
Indonesia finished its national ID project earlier this year. Accuracy 97%.
US DHS over 95%. (Fingerprint only)

There is objective reason why Apple decided to use fingerprint for the new iPhone. It works.

Simply because some people claim that biometric does not work CANNOT change reality.

References:
UIDAI: 2011 report on enrollment. Available on UIDAI WEBSITE.
Indonesia: dr. Fahmi presentation in Dubai on Indonesia program 2012.
DHS: BCC 2012 presentation by CTO, DHS

Mandar Kulkarni

In Reply to Ram Das 3 years ago

The numbers that you are mentioning itself are showing that biometric is just not working fine for counts beyond few millions. Really por acuracy, makes everyone conclude that this is not feasible as of today. Project needs to be scraped immediately. Complete wastage of tax payer's money.

Atiker

3 years ago

Hi, all-aadhar-lovers

I am reading comments of many "educated" persons here, who are hell bent on criticizing moneylife without understanding the issue. Let me try to explain in a different way.

Also before thrashing moneylife please ponder why developed countries are not using biometrics for their citizens. Yes they use biometrics for visa but that is for aliens not for citizens. Don't be under a fake illusion that we are smarter than them, without knowing what are there reservations on usage of biometrics.

Pros -
1. Aadhar is useful for identifying the number of unique person (big assumption here that bio-metric technology is matured enough now) so that there is no pilferage. By pilferage i mean govt allocating say 10kg rice per person for the entire population, aadhar will make sure that govt wont be able to allocate more than the unique persons in the country. In the current system of bpl ration cards, there are many fake cards due to which there is a lot of pilferage.
2. Govt can transfer money directly to the aadhar registered bank account of the person

Cons -
1. This is more of a doubt - Is the current technology mature enough to weed out duplicates ? If there is one known duplicate what is the theoritical/practical probability of more duplicates ? Before going into this humongous task, is any study done ? are the findings made public for scrutiny ?

2. Is ID the only reason that marginalized people are not included in the main stream ? And will getting an ID guarantee their inclusion ? Under the guise of ID importants aspects are being sidelined.
Have you ever visited a govt bank and watched people running helter skelter even to fill up a simple form. Just last week I was forced to visit Bank of Maharashtra to close my dead relative's account and the kind of treatment that was meted out to me(a qualifed engg, working in middle management, who went there armed with all the information, and yes was humble enough to talk with monsters-called-govt-employees with all respect) was horrible. There I met a govt school teacher who had come to open an account for her daughter for getting some scholarship, he requested me to help him in filing up the form, which for me too was a herculean task. I asked him to get in touch with Bank officials, and he replied they wont listen unless I come with a "jack". What good will be a bank account / pass book will be in the hands of a marginalized poor person who most probably is an illeterate and even if s/he can read, is not aware of his/her rights and basic information on banking. Most probably his money will be siphoned off. One more example, we have a maid for last 15 years, she used to pay some 50Rs per month for a govt health insurance scheme for poor people, 3 years back when her husband got sick and she took her to the govt hospital and when she asked for reimbursement of medicine expenses, the insurance comp said you haven't paid any money, when she showed the receipts, the company said they are fake. The person who used to collect money from her bluntly told her to do whatever she can. On her husband's death, she was entitled for some death insurance of 50k-60k from state govt, she confessed to me that she was given only 10k and was forced to sign the receipt for the whole 50-60k. This is the state affairs in India and people are assuming Aadhar to be panacea of all evils.

3. Security - this is a big issue. And all those thrashing money life have no idea of the security implications. Enlighten yourself. There are no safe guards in place for misuse of your biometrics. There is no penalty on those who are custodians of this data in case of any leakage. There is no mechanism in place for restricting someone else to misuse your aadhar number, e.g there can be transactions done on your name and there is no mechanism to dispute them. Your biometric data is very valuable, if you can't appreciate its value you can't appreciate the associated security implications. Before thrashing moneylife try to understand their concerns with an open mind. Remember they don't have any conflict of interest in pointing issues with Aadhar.

4. One argument is if you are not comfortable with Aadhar then don't get one. No where the govt has said that Aadhar is only for uplifting the marginalized. For now the govt is mandating it for Gas Subsidy, later on it can mandate it for say addmission to IIT, (IIT education is subsidized, isn't it), whats stopping them from doing it in future? Also Why should not I take advantage of gas subsidy when the govt has not said that it is only for BPL ? Even the subsidized diesel is used in mercs and other high end cars. I am an honest tax payer, why should not I be allowed to avail it, without enrolling into a system which I believe is not fulproof and is not validated anywhere in the world. Why should I be a guinea pig ?

Summary - Only advantage of Aadhar is to identify count of unique person (provided technology is mature enough to accomplish that) so that the audit can reveal the amount of pilferage. Mandating Aadhar to avail benefits is opening a pandoras box.

Regards,

REPLY

Piyush Peshwani

In Reply to Atiker 3 years ago

Atiker, do you work at Money Life?

Atiker

In Reply to Piyush Peshwani 3 years ago

Nope :) I don't work at or for money life.
Not qualified and competent to join them. I am into technology, zeros and ones is what i see :)

Ram Das

In Reply to Atiker 3 years ago

Being in technology, you will appreciate value of empirical testing and data. Biometric technology for depublication works: it is shown to work empirically. And it is shown that Mr. Moss's math is simply incorrect. He mixed basic biometric terminology of identification and verification. Not surprising because he is a lawyer, not a tech person.

One duplicate found proves nothing. Actually, money life should have discovered a few thousand as predicted by UIDAI own models.

Bottom line,
Do we want to move from 20-40% duplicates as exists today to 1%? Or we want to wait for some non-existent perfect solution? Is there a credible alternate option?

Shivram Ramakrishnan

In Reply to Atiker 3 years ago

1. This is a partially valid argument. There has been no study done to prove otherwise too. To me the probability of duplicates can only be lower in a biometric system as compared to a non-biometric system.
2. Again why should aadhaar be responsible for a govt employee in a bank being inefficient? How will not having aadhaar solve these issues? These are issues to be handled in parallel.
3. Security in india is a larger issue. My opinion is that India's problem is not laws but enforcement. That apart, the agenda should be to make the people responsible address security issues, not reject aadhaar altogether. My biometric data will have value only when aadhar comes in. Today it has very less value.
4. This is the price of democracy. Not everyone can be satisfied. There is really no solution to your question.

It is like this. If I have cancer and I know that the probability of dying is very high even if I take medicines, I would still take the medicine, not reject the same. My reasoning is that the probability of death comes down, however small.

Atiker

In Reply to Shivram Ramakrishnan 3 years ago

Hi Shiv,

My current reply has nothing to do with Aadhar.

On your cancer analogy - just sharing a few links - to show the other side of the coin. Read it with an open mind.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/articl...

http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2011/1...

Probability of death is not the most important factor for all.

The article suggests that CPR and Chemo are terrible things, if its a terminal illness, better to avoid them.

Atiker

In Reply to Shivram Ramakrishnan 3 years ago

Hi Shivram, Thanks for your reply, here are my views on your points.

2. I didn't implied that not having Aadhar will solve this issue. What i meant was having or not having aadhar wont make a difference, unless this issue is resolved. Govt is spending money and efforts towards aadhar instead of fixing these other pertinent issues.
3. Agree to what you say. I am not rejecting aadhar, I am concerned about using my biometric for aadhar without having proper checks and balances in place. More pertinent is that the authorities are not addressing these concerns.
4. Again agree, and to add more to what you said - the advantage of democracy is that one can at least raise his concerns in open, and thats what we are doing :)

Ram Das

In Reply to Atiker 3 years ago

I would like to question the premise that developed countries are not using biometric technology for citizens. Here are few examples from North America
1. Many US states including California collect fingerprint when issuing drivers license. This pretty much covers entire adult population.
2. Naturalized citizen is required to provide fingerprint.
3. Numerous programs such as Global entry requires US and Canadian citizens to provide fingerprints.
Make no mistake, the US federal and state government has numerous large database of biometrics.

Mayuresh

In Reply to Atiker 3 years ago

Hello moneylife-lover,

Thanks for calling us "educated". So give us the right to educate immature novices like you here. (That's not a normal language I'd use, though you started it.)

First about your predudices:

Firstly nobody is "hell bent" upon anything here. You might want to refine your language.

Nobody is under any illusion that who is smarter or anything like that. In an objective argument let's not drag which country does what and all that.

Uniqueness and ability to establish it is not the only purpose of Aadhar. It tries to achieve uniquess to the extent technology permits. Like every technology it has limitations, but that does not make it useless.

Tomorrow, you might call fingerprint reports used in criminal analysis as useless just because uniqueness can't be established with them... Don't they at least help zero down on a few potential criminals?

If you are "hell bent" (sorry, borrowing your word) on calling Aadhar a failure on the basis of uniqueness, go find out any other system (passport, PAN, voter id, ration card) where there are no issues. Write an article on each one of them and also suggest how to run those systems without those numbers. Aadhar is just an attempt to unify many of them, well eventually, with use of state of the art technology which would try its level far better than other systems to ensure uniqueness.

Subsidies not reaching people is a reality in India, with the middlemen taking their cuts whenever cheque/cash is involved. Subsidies on LPG getting misused for commercial purposes is also a reality. Aadhar can act as a strong check on malpractices. May be it can't eliminate them, but it's a step forward.

Nobody says Aadhar is panacea for all evils. It's just an incremental step forward. It's definitely not a wrong step the way moneylife likes to depict.

Security is a big issue. Agree. But so is it with your bank account, facebook profile and credit card. You must be very naive if you assume Aadhar is the only security issue. Having said that those risks need to be mitigated, not run away from. Because there can be an accident when you step out on the road, you don't stop traveling.

Atiker

In Reply to Mayuresh 3 years ago

"Firstly nobody is "hell bent" upon anything here. You might want to refine your language."

Oops you did not got offended by my usage of word "alien" for non-citizens. :)

Atiker

In Reply to Mayuresh 3 years ago

"Uniqueness and ability to establish it is not the only purpose of Aadhar. It tries to achieve uniquess to the extent technology permits. Like every technology it has limitations, but that does not make it useless.

Tomorrow, you might call fingerprint reports used in criminal analysis as useless just because uniqueness can't be established with them... Don't they at least help zero down on a few potential criminals?"

Ever heard of straw man argument/fallacy ?
I rest my case here.

On similar lines -
" Having said that those risks need to be mitigated, not run away from."
Who is mitigating those risks? Is anybody addressing those issues even listening ?

"Because there can be an accident when you step out on the road, you don't stop traveling."
And the above one is a final nail in the coffin.

Atiker

In Reply to Mayuresh 3 years ago

Yes I not only love but respect moneylife for the work they have done and are doing :)

You have taken an offense from my reply, but it was not intended and certainly not directed to educated people like you.

Regarding language, we Indians get offended quite easily. "Hell bent" is a figure of speech,which I guess is appropriate for the kind of comments being thrown at moneylife. Accusing them of having an hidden agenda, isn't it deplorable ? Other words/phrases that I had to stop using because of Indian sensitivity are "Its a shame that we could not meet",".. is going to dogs", which are perfectly ok to use in english speaking countries. When I said about other country in my comment, I used the word WE, that means me included.

Anyways you have not answered any of my concerns with the aadhar card,but have taken offense of literal words. Biometrics is a dangerous game (again you may get problem with the word game) which even developed countries are shying away from.

I am not hell bent on calling aadhar a failure, I did pointed out the pros of it in my comment. I am concerned about using biometrics as a foundation for aadhar, without addressing the security concerns raised by people. Read my comment again without taking an offense, there are some genuine concerns related to privacy and security.

Mayuresh

In Reply to Atiker 3 years ago

"Anyways you have not answered any of my concerns with the aadhar card"

Really? Well, now I give up.

Piyush Peshwani

3 years ago

What's the big deal? If 0.1% people get a duplicate Aadhaar, we still have 99.9% unique ID's mapped to unique people - the basis for better governance and service delivery. This is only possible with biometric technology. No system is 100% efficient. Moneylife should first try and find out about fake and duplicate BPL cards, ration cards, etc and compare with Aadhaar. We cannot build good technology systems without the unique ID.

All those who complain about Aadhaar - just answer this - are you happy when you have to line up for accessing basic Government services? If not, give Aadhaar a chance.

REPLY

Atiker

In Reply to Piyush Peshwani 3 years ago

Dear Piyush,

1. If there is one duplicate, what is the theoritical/practical limits for more ? Any study done for that ?

2. " the basis for better governance and service delivery. This is only possible with biometric technology." How do you come to this conclusion that only biometrics can lead to better governance ? None of the better governed states in the world use bio-metrics. Give me a working test case. Read the counter example in point 5 below.

3. You yourself said no system is 100% efficient then why rush into bio metrics where the implications are huge.

4. "We cannot build good technology systems without the unique ID. " Can you point me to a research paper for this preposterous statement.

5. "are you happy when you have to line up for accessing basic Government services? If not, give Aadhaar a chance." What is there in Aadhar which will reduce the line in accessing basic govt services which technology can not accomplish without venturing into biometrics ? Queue's have been eliminated without using biometrics e.g via Eseva (e governance initiative by Naidu CM of AP) in hyderabad for accessing basic govt services.

No one is against use of technology, but biometrics via aadhar is an untested territory. Nothing wrong in venturing into untested territory, but wisdom says do it on a test basis, do some study/research, answer questions and queries, before pushing it down the throat of the masses.

Learn from the national scale socialist misadventures done in the recent past by so many countries.

We are listening!

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