NEW DELHI: With its plans to make smartphones Aadhaar-enabled, the government hopes to provide users a means to do self-authentication and let businesses and banks verify the identity of their clients through their smartphones, a move that could potentially lead the way to a cashless society.
“Iris and fingerprint sensors are now becoming a standard feature in smartphones anyway, and this requirement will only take a minor tweak to the operating system. Once enabled, people will be able to use phones to do self-authentication and KYC (know your customer),” Nandan Nikelani, former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, told ET, welcoming the government’s plan to make smartphones Aadhaar-enabled.
ET was the first to report that on July 27 a meeting between UIDAI, which administers Aadhaar, and senior executives of smartphone-makers discussed ways to allow smartphone handsets let citizens authenticate their fingerprints and iris on the phone to get services. The most immediate use for the Aadhaar-enabled smartphones is the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), the new payment system that allows money transfer between any two parties using mobile phones and a virtual payment address.
“The reluctance to make changes at the vendor level are mainly coming from a desire for control of biometric data for strategic and commercial purposes. Privacy and security are bogus reasons,” Nilekani said, adding that both ends – the handset and the Aadhaar database — will use the highest level of encryption.
Samsung India, which in May launched the Galaxy Tab Iris, a device that uses Aadhaar authentication, said it has taken care that its user’s biometric data does not fall into the wrong hands. “We ensure that biometric data is encrypted as per UIDAI specifications in device itself for Galaxy Tab Iris,” Sukesh Jain, vice president, Samsung India Electronics, told ET in an email response.