Centre for Internet & Society

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the governing agency in charge of Aadhaar, has declined multiple requests from all law enforcement agencies, including the Delhi Police, for biometrics of citizens for criminal investigations, according to a report by The Indian Express.

The blog post by Justin Lee was published by Biometric Update on July 4, 2017.

Investigating agencies such as CBI and NIA have been repeatedly requesting the details of Aadhaar cardholders including their biometrics, UIDAI said.

UIDAI Deputy Director General Rajesh Kumar Singh has written to the heads of each agency, ordering them to stop asking for such details.

“This is regarding requests frequently received by the UIDAI from police and other law enforcement agencies, seeking demographic and biometric information of residents for facilitating identification of individuals in different cases,” Singh said in his letter. “In this regard, I would like to draw your kind attention to provisions under Sections 28 and 29 of the Aadhaar (Targeted delivery of financial and other subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016, which prohibits sharing of core biometric and identity related information with other authorities.”

Rather than asking forensic labs to match fingerprints, state police and investigating agencies are requesting biometrics data from UIDAI.

“Identity information cannot be shared by UIDAI,” Singh said. “The requests received from law enforcement agencies lead to avoidable delays in investigation by the police authorities and unnecessary increase in the workload of subordinate authorities.”

UIDAI is also concerned about data potentially leaking as the central government has confirmed that identities of individuals, including Aadhaar numbers and other private information, has been leaked to the public.

In May, the Centre for Internet and Society published a report that claimed between 130 to 135 million numbers in India’s Aadhaar biometric registry system, and around 100 million bank numbers of pensioners and rural jobs-for-work beneficiaries, have been leaked online by four key government programs.