According to an article in the Economic Times, the Indian government plans to widen the scope of the Aadhaar authentication system to allow validation of identification credentials for employment purposes.
According to the report, citizens would be able to use Aadhaar to verify details of others for a small fee.
Aadhaar, recognized as the world’s largest universal civil ID program and biometric database, is currently used by the Indian government to provide social services. To date, Aadhaar has issued over 900 million Aadhaar numbers, and has enrolled approximately 850 million people, with a goal of ultimately enrolling 1.28 billion people.
The national government has instructed the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to examine the appointment of third-party organizations that will carry out validation on behalf of individuals and companies, according to an unnamed government official.
The move signals the national government’s intention to find new use-cases around the Aadhaar authentication service, which is in accord with Prime Minister Modi’s directive to expand the use of Aadhaar.
As BiometricUpdate.com previously reported, Modi’s government is anxious to register all Indian residents, in order to implement its scheme to expand social services to include a new universal healthcare scheme, along with enhanced monitoring of government employee attendance and truancy. The government also wants to expand the use of the Aadhaar biometric system for national security and crime-related surveillance.
This expansion into ID credential verification allows the government to widen the marketplace for Aadhaar services and expand the potential of startup companies that desire to build services centered upon the authentication system.
In terms of privacy, the ID credential verification will function differently from the “know your customer” (KYC) authentication system presently used by government departments and banks. Instead of being provided with extensive details, the ID credential verification system that will be extended to private companies and citizens will only yield minimal details on any inquiries and will not directly transfer personal data.
The unnamed government official told the Economic Times: “Firms which have a high number of workforce or spend a significant amount in carrying out user verification can benefit greatly from this service.” The official also said that the government believes that the new ID credential verification system will “be the most secure way of authentication since there will be no transfer of any citizen data through the UID database” to private entities.