Can a person have two Aadhar cards

Largest biometric database in the world is legitimate

At the end of September, after several lawsuits, the Indian Constitutional Court declared the database of Aadhaar identification cards to be admissible. Four of the five judges did not see the right to privacy violated, but set some limits to the aadhaar program.

What is an aadhaar ID?

The Aadhaar-ID (Hindi = “foundation”) is a personal, twelve-digit identification number that every citizen of India can receive from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The QR code on the ID conceals biographical and biometric data stored in a central database. Since 2016, the system has in fact been mandatory for all citizens who want to use state aid and services. Over 1.2 billion people are now registered in the world's largest biometric database.

At the request of the parents, newborns and minors can also receive an Aadhaar ID. From the age of five, in addition to demographic information such as name, gender, date of birth and address, children must also provide their biometric information, including a photo of their face, iris scans of both eyes and fingerprints of all ten fingers. These are updated once more at the age of 15.

What options does Aadhaar offer?

The aim of the Aadhaar program is to prevent social fraud. Identification with the Aadhaar card is intended to ensure that social and assistance services reach the right people. In the meantime, however, bank accounts, SIM cards, insurance, pensions or loan inquiries are also linked to the Aadhaar ID. As a result, some providers only sold their products and services after presenting the Aadhaar ID. SIM cards were switched off and bank accounts were closed after a deadline. A 25-year-old woman gave birth in front of the emergency room of a hospital in Gurugram because the staff refused to allow her treatment or entry to the delivery room due to the missing aadhaar card.

In its 1,448-page ruling, the court has now ordered that both schools and private companies may not require the Aadhaar number to be given. The majority of judges still considered the linking of the ID with the data of the tax return to be permissible.

The Aadhaar IDs threats

In addition to the problem of the factual compulsion of identification through the Aadhaar card, the program is increasingly being criticized. A lack of security encourages incidents of corruption, rising cybercrime and identity theft.

Over 100 cases of Aadhaar ID forgeries are known to date. Journalists from the Indian newspaper “The Tribune” reported that after paying 500 rupees (around € 6) to anonymous sellers, they were able to access all Aadhaar numbers and the associated data within 10 minutes. Due to a mistake, 800 residents of the same village had incorrectly written the same date of birth - January 1st - on their Aadhaar card. This faux pas is in ironic contrast to Aadhaar's advertising slogan:

"It is better to be unique than the best. Because being the best makes you the number one, but being unique makes you the only one. "

The villagers with the same date of birth were not “the only ones” despite their unique Aadhaar ID.

In the next few years, Aadhaar is to be further developed and linked to the health data of Indian citizens. How the Indian government will and can protect its citizens from the dangers and risks of digital identity in the future remains to be seen.

Juliana Speder || General | Aadhaar, biometrics, biometric database, ID, India