Citizens' Issues
Not just Indians, the US too is worried over UID

Many Indians have raised data security and privacy issues over the ambitious UID number project. Now, even the US is concerned that the number could be issued to terrorists through fake ID

While many citizens and privacy advocates in India have raised serious questions about the unique identification (UID) number, also known as the Aadhaar project, the United States is worried about security aspects of the project.

According to a report based on US diplomatic cables, accessed and published by The Hindu newspaper from WikiLeaks, the US was worried about the possible procurement of UID numbers by extremist groups and their effort to spoof or defeat biometric enrolment by alteration in fingerprints.

"The ostensible reason behind the interest in the US was that the project 'could present a vulnerable target for regional extremist groups-such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba-who could obtain fraudulent Indian ID cards during the large-scale enrolment for use in travel or as breeder documents to apply for passports'. Hence, the State Department wanted to know what security features would be incorporated in the card, and anti-fraud measures adopted, and if any encryption method would be used," the report said.

The cables, sent on 17 December 2009 from the office of the Secretary of State under the name of Hillary Clinton, asked the US Embassy in New Delhi to find out the motivation behind the (Aadhaar) project and to collect as much information about it as possible.

"Specific instructions were given to Embassy officials to report on any efforts to 'spoof' or defeat biometric enrolment, such as fingerprint alteration," the newspaper report said.

Although, the US has raised apprehensions about the UID number project, there are chances that it may have changed its opinion since. For, at the time, let alone US authorities, many Indian officials were in the dark about how the project would be implemented. Also, today, numerous big-profit organisations-many of them 'influential' companies from the US-have partnered with the UID Authority of India (UIDAI). (Read, "UIDAI's not-so-'clean' partners and their tainted executives".)

Last year, the UIDAI selected three consortia-Accenture, Mahindra Satyam-Morpho and L-1 Identity Solutions-to implement the core biometric identification system for the Aadhaar programme. UIDAI had stated that the three agencies would design, supply, install, commission, maintain and support the multimodal automatic biometric identification subsystem. The three vendors would also be involved in the development of a multimodal software development kit (SDK) for client enrolment stations, the verification server, manual adjudication and monitoring functions of the UID application.

L-1 Identity Solutions, in particular, has names in its top management, or directors, who have been associated with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other American defence organisations. Over the years, particularly after taking some top-notch 'retired' intelligence and defence officials on board, L-1 Solutions has made rapid progress.

French aerospace and defence systems company Safran, bought L-1 Identity Solutions for about $1.6 billion. After the announcement last September, there was a furore in the US. At the time, one blogger from the US wrote, "Just think about how happy you can feel now knowing that your personal information including your social security number and biometric information (fingerprints, iris scans and digital facial images) may soon be available to a French company. The federal government must sign off on the deal before the deal can be sealed. All this brings us back to the topic of the revolving door that exists between government and corporations."

Interestingly, even as Safran was announcing the deal to buy L-1 Identity Solutions, the UIDAI gave a purchase order worth $24.5 million for fingerprint and iris biometric capturing devices in September 2010. The White House, however, announced the deal during the visit of US President Barack Obama to India in November last year.

Although the concerns raised by the US over the UID card for Indian residents are still valid, it leaves one wondering whether Uncle Sam would pursue these issues even after fulfilling its commercial interests.

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5 years ago

Basically US is trying to create some kind of fear in the minds of the people of India by saying this. Julian Assange keeps making whole US Diplomats naked every now and then and still they say they are concerned about security aspect of UID.

Ashok Moda

5 years ago

Respected UID Board members & Mr. Nilekeni
In my view, a UID card one must carry FREELY at all times with him, so the best is to give a visible embossing prints like on Credit card, details only his UID No., Contact No.(other than his own) may be spouse or may be introducer, his photo and his signature. His name, address, and other information is not required on the card as India is a multi religion nation and these information on the card may lead to misutilisation, you understand like during riots etc. some people would not like to disclose their identity or at some other time a third party may misutilise the other informations. Besides this is issued in the interest of national security and of course all other informations could be easily obtain at any time from the central repository. This is like you have recorded each and every citizen or individual. Next if you can add the recording of all financial transactions, say above rupees one thousand, made by each individual, be his personal expense or a salary or a business transaction, I feel both the records of people and financial fraud / transaction can easily be under check and well controlled.
Please pressurise the authority to make it must carry card, mandatory and only for the Indian citizen and for foreigners, they always carry their passport, anyway. So no need to be confused.
Regarding UID no. it can be the first character of his given name, first character of his last name, three characters of his state of birth, eight characters of his date of birth i.e. DD MM YYYY and finally the 001, three digits serial numbers. All these 16 digits, you mast must have noticed quite easily remember-able, even by a most illitrate ones as he only has to remember the last three digits. Chances of duplication is again reduced by names, state, DOB and serial no.
Well sir, you must have designed in a better way, but please let me request you once again not to disclose MY ID and allow me to carry my card at all time or attach it to my financial transactions so that I have no choice but to carry it always with me.
Thanking you
Ashok Moda
[email protected]


5 years ago



5 years ago

i guess the US should mind its own business. we are capable enough of running the largest ,multi party democracy in the world through such a complex electoral process . the man heading this project is an icon who knows the magnanimity of the job at hand. there may be some leakages and there will be attempts in future too. but just like the benefits of air travel outdo the downsides, the benefits of democracy out do the demerits, similarly the benefits of uid far outdo its possible drawbacks.


5 years ago

security is main aspect while making such large potential project . as the contracts have been delivered to many companies , there is question mark over security. UIDAI havent declared security patches ON WEBSITE

CBI charge-sheets Kanimozhi, 4 others in 2G scam

Others who have been charge-sheeted along with Ms Kanimozhi are Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar, Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa's cousin Asif Balwa, Rajeev Agarwal-directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd-and Karim Murani of Cineyug Films (Pvt) Ltd

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today filed its second charge-sheet in the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation case naming Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi's daughter and MP Kanimozhi and four others as accused, reports PTI.

However, the CBI has not named Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal, whose name had figured in the 2G probe, as the accused in the supplementary charge-sheet filed before special judge OP Saini.

Others who have been charge-sheeted along with Ms Kanimozhi are Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar, Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa's cousin Asif Balwa, Rajeev Agarwal-directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd-and Karim Murani of Cineyug Films (Pvt) Ltd.

Ms Kanimozhi has been charged with section 7 and 11 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The sections deal with acceptance of alleged gratification.

Ms Kanimozhi, Sharad Kumar and Mr Murani have not been arrested by the CBI but Asif Balwa and Mr Agarwal are in judicial custody.

The charge-sheet said the investigation into the case disclosed that money had travelled from DB Realty to Kalaignar TV.

Ms Kanimozhi, Ms Dayalu Ammal and Sharad Kumar, managing director of Kalaignar TV, have 20%, 60% and 20% shares in the channel respectively.

The CBI told the court that Rs200 crore connected with the 2G spectrum scam had travelled from a partnership firm of Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa to Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd.

The agency which in the first charge-sheet had said the money travelled through a "circuitous route" through Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, a DB group company and Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd, has maintained the position in the second charge-sheet.

"Investigations have revealed that in furtherance of the conspiracy, Dynamix Realty, a partnership firm of DB Realty Ltd and other DB group companies, paid Rs200 crore to Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd from December 2008 to August 2009, following a circuitous route through Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd and Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd (DB group holds 49% equity in it)," the CBI had said in its first charge-sheet filed on 2nd April.

The CBI, in its first charge-sheet filed on 2nd April, had said former telecom minister A Raja conspired with top bureaucrats, including a retired IAS officer, and corporate honchos to cause a loss of Rs30,984 crore to the exchequer in the allocation of 2G spectrum.

Besides Mr Raja, the agency had named eight others and three telecom companies.

The agency had alleged former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Mr Raja's personal secretary RK Chandolia and Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa and Sanjay Chandra, MD of Unitech Wireless, entered into a conspiracy for manipulating the procedure for allocation of spectrum with the aim of favouring companies like Swan Telecom and Unitech.

Others named in the charge-sheet include Vinod Goenka, director of Mumbai-based DB Realty, which was also the promoter of Etisalat DB, Sanjay Chandra, managing director of Gurgaon-based real estate company Unitech and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd and Gautam Doshi, Hari Nair and Surendra Pipara, group managing director and two senior vice presidents of Mumbai-based Reliance ADAG.

The CBI had charged Mr Raja with cheating, forgery and abuse of official position under the provisions of Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act.

All the nine accused, named in the first charge sheet, are presently in Tihar Jail under judicial custody.


Japan quake effect: Honda to cut production in India by 50%

The announcement comes following a production cut by Honda Motor at its plants in Japan following a shortage of components due to the impact of the tsunami on its parts suppliers

New Delhi: Auto major Honda Motor Co today said it will cut production in India by 50% from May due to components supply constraints, after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan last month, reports PTI.

The company, which is present in India through a joint venture with the Siel Group-Honda Siel Cars India-produces cars at its Greater Noida plant that has an installed capacity of one lakh units annually. Last year it had sold about 60,000 units in India.

"We are experiencing gaps in our supply chain due to the situation in Japan, resulting in production cuts. We are moving to single shift operations from May 2011, while carefully monitoring the situation," Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) senior vice-president (marketing & sales) Jnaneswar Sen said in a statement.

The announcement comes following a production cut by Honda Motor at its plants in Japan following a shortage of components due to the impact of the tsunami on its parts suppliers.

"The situation with parts supply in Japan remains fluid, production of component parts and vehicles at Honda plants is at approximately 50% of the original production plan," the statement said.

Honda will carefully monitor the situation and manage its operations accordingly, it added.

Most of the Japanese Honda suppliers are making progress to restart production and many either have or are ready to resume parts production. However, there are a few suppliers that have yet to resolve the challenge to resume their production, it said.

The company said Honda was working with its suppliers to help re-establish their operations, while evaluating other possible sources for those parts in the supply chain.

"We plan to get back to normal production as soon as supplies normalise," Mr Sen said.


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