Aadhaar de-duplication myth busted. Any answers, Mr Nilekani?
Moneylife Digital Team 15 October 2013

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!


7 years ago
Lol ! Wondering how that person can get two Ids? As I was pretty sure that this was mostly happening in aadhar apna csc service centers. Which was launched with the integration of API. Csc's are responsible to provide the G2C and B2C services. But, most of the people who owns a CSC are creating a fake Id cards.
Thereby, any one can get the two aadhar cards, even more than three+! What a irony!
gulshan chhabra
7 years ago
my biometric has failed & I cannot have a sim card, I am a doctor. What should I do now?
Krishnamurty Venkatramani
7 years ago
This is a very serious lapse gov must answer
1 decade 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
1 decade 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
1 decade 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
1 decade 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
1 decade 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.

Krishnaswami CVR
1 decade 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
1 decade 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
1 decade ago
Forget it. Nilekani will not answer. He is the holi cow!
uttamkumar dubey
Replied to sohan modak comment 1 decade 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?
1 decade 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 ?
1 decade ago
uttamkumar dubey
1 decade 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.

Mandar Kulkarni
1 decade ago
This scandalous project called Aadhaar is likely to get scrapped soon. Lot of money is wasted so far; should not waste any more.
Free Helpline
Legal Credit