'Aadhaar data base fully safe and secure'
Dismissing reports of misuse of biometrics data, the government on Sunday said Aadhaar-based authentication is "fully safe and secure".
Moreover, subsidy transfers linked to Aadhaar has led the exchequer to save Rs 49,000 crore during the last two-and-half years.
According to Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), there has been no incident of misuse of Aadhaar biometrics leading to identity theft and financial loss when more than 400 crore Aadhaar authenticated transactions took place during the last five years, it said.
UIDAI also said that it has carefully gone through various reports and would like to emphasise that there has been no breach to UIDAI database of Aadhaar in any manner whatsoever and personal data of individuals held by UIDAI is fully safe and secure.
"Aadhaar-based authentication is robust and secure as compared to any other contemporary systems. Aadhaar system has the capability to inquire into any instance of misuse of biometrics and identity theft and initiate action," it said. With reference to an incident of misuse of biometrics reported in a newspaper, UIDAI said that it is an isolated case of an employee working with a bank's Business Correspondent's company making an attempt to misuse his own biometrics which was detected by UIDAI internal security system and subsequently actions under the Aadhaar Act were initiated.
Responding to media reports about on-boarding of the ecosystem partners, UIDAI said that the regulations under the Aadhaar Act strictly regulate the on-boarding, functioning including the data sharing restrictions imposed on the companies which want to use Aadhaar information.
UIDAI further said that Aadhaar is an important tool of good governance and empowerment of people and has helped more than 4.47 crore people open bank accounts through Aadhaar e-KYC.
It has enabled the government to do Direct Benefit Transfers under various schemes including LPG subsidy and has helped the exchequer save over Rs 49,000 crore during the last two and half years. Aadhaar-based Public Distributions System is benefiting people by ensuring that their food grain entitlement are given only to the deserving beneficiaries and are not cornered by unscrupulous and corrupt elements, it said.
With reference to reports that there are no extant regulations available to prevent storage and misuse of e-KYC data, while citing instances like capturing IRIS from high resolution photograph, UIDAI said that there are stringent provisions in the Aadhaar (Authentication) Regulations governing the usage of e-KYC data including storage and sharing, resident consent being paramount in both the cases.
Any unauthorised capture of IRIS or fingerprints or storage or replay of biometrics or their misuse is a criminal offence under the Aadhaar Act, it said.