India’s Supreme Court hears challenge to biometric authentication system
Two lawsuits being heard this week before India’s Supreme Court question a requirement imposed by the government that individuals should quote a biometrics-based authentication number when filing their tax returns.
Civil rights groups have opposed the Aadhaar biometric system, which is based on centralized records of all ten fingerprints and iris scans, as their extensive use allegedly encroach on the privacy rights of Indians. “Aadhaar is surveillance technology masquerading as secure authentication technology,” said Sunil Abraham, executive director of Bangalore-based research organization, the Centre for Internet and Society.
The Indian government has in the meantime extended the use of Aadhaar, originally meant to identify beneficiaries of state schemes for the poor, to other areas such as filing of taxes, distribution of meals to school children and payment systems.