India reaches out to tech players on Aadhaar biometric link

India’s government has written to major tech players including Microsoft and Google seeking their feedback on solutions linking biometric authentication to the country’s unique ID system. However, none have responded.

The Government of India want to use the tech giants’ proprietary software to allow matching of a user’s fingerprint or iris scan as captured in the mobile instrument with his or her biometrics as stored in the Aadhaar database, reports The Indian Express.

Aenior government officials told the newspaper that companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft are acting as “gatekeepers” and are averse to allowing open API that facilitates programmatic access to a proprietary software application.

A detailed questionnaire sent to all three companies on 11 February, seeking their response on the issue has not elicited a response so far.

One official said that while not everyone has a credit card today, everyone does a mobile phone. “The mobile number that you have for the phone is ‘what you have’. Phone is one factor of authentication. There are ways to confirm that this mobile number is yours, for instance through mechanisms such as One Time Password. The second factor of authentication is the biometric, which can be an Iris scan or a fingerprint. India’s Aadhaar is unique in the world, and can make the mobile instrument provide a two-factor authentication for online transactions,” the official said.