mfioretti: biometrics* + surveillance*

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  1. Unlike the Passport Officer, the RTO, the Electoral Officer, the CEO of UIDAI does not take any legal liability to certify the number as a proof of anyone’s identity, address or existence. Furthermore no one has verified or audited the database to establish how many of the billion numbers that are linked to data submitted by the outsourced parties are real individuals.

    The resulting Aadhaar database is the database being used to “purify”, as described by Ajay Bhushan Pandey the CEO of UIDAI, all databases that are seeded with Aadhaar. The seeding of other databases with the Aadhaar number is also unlike any other identification document. This seeding threatens to exclude the genuine and include the fake into other existing databases by seeding Aadhaar to other databases. The case of over 13,000 fake employees in Satyam’s who got salaries every month for years before being exposed is still fresh in India.

    As the government embarks to link the entire Consolidated Fund of India’s receipts and expenditure to this database, is it not reasonable to establish some CAG certificate on the existence of every person in this database?

    Mr. Nilekani has often highlighted the use of biometric to authenticate who you are as the core strength of the Aadhaar database. What he fails to state is that even if biometric could uniquely establish your identity uniquely throughout your life, which it cannot, its use for authentication is absurd.

    Once stolen, your biometric can be used, in a multiple of ways differing in simplicity and ease, by the thief, to perpetuate crimes that will be attributed to you and may be difficult, if not impossible, for you to deny.

    It is precisely this difference between the enrolment and use models of the Aadhaar in comparison with any other ID are a threat to you as well as the nation.
    https://tech.economictimes.indiatimes...ts/how-does-aadhaar-threaten-you/2277
    Voting 0
  2. the technology is colliding with the rickety reality of India, where many people live off the grid or have fingerprints compromised by manual labor or age.

    Panna Singh, a 55-year-old day laborer in the northwestern state of Rajasthan who breaks stones used to build walls, says the machine recognized his scuffed-up fingerprints only a couple of times.

    “I’ve come twice today,” he said at a ration shop in the village of Devdungri. “That’s a full day of work, gone.”

    Iris scans are meant to resolve situations where fingerprints don’t work, but shops don’t yet have iris scanners.
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/snags-mu...ut-1484237128?mod=rss_asia_whats_news
    Voting 0
  3. While Bethany Howell napped on the couch last week, her daughter Ashlynd, 6 years old, used her mother’s thumb to unlock her phone and open the Amazon app. “$250 later, she has shopped for all her Christmas presents on Amazon,” said Ms. Howell, of Little Rock, Ark.

    After Ashlynd’s parents received 13 order confirmations for Pokémon items, they initially thought they’d been hacked, then they figured Ashlynd had bought them unintentionally. “No, Mommy, I was shopping,” Ms. Howell said her daughter told her. “But don’t worry—everything that I ordered is coming straight to the house.” Ms. Howell added: ”She is really proud of herself."

    The Howells could return only four of the items. So Ms. Howell came up with a solution and told Ashlynd, “Well, Santa found out and that is what Santa is going to bring you for Christmas.”

    Zeke Tischler, a 30-year-old social-media professional from Northridge, Calif., had the same sort of gift problem outside of the Christmas season. Ads for engagement rings began popping up in his Facebook news feed after he searched for rings online last year.

    One evening, as his girlfriend was looking over his shoulder, an ad for opal engagement rings—her favorite gemstone—popped up on his Facebook news feed. Mr. Tischler said he tried to pass it off as a glitch.

    Several weeks later, however, when he got down on one knee and presented the opal engagement ring, his girlfriend presented her own ring for him. Online ads ”ruined one of the largest surprises in my life,” Mr. Tischler said. His fiancée, he added, “thinks it’s pretty hilarious.”
    Take a Look at Other Recent A-Heds

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    A crush of package deliveries undid Brenna Jennings. Her United Parcel Service Inc. driver showed up so often to her New Hampshire home that her 8-year-old daughter started pondering the imponderable. Ms. Jennings shut it down with an explanation: Amazon and UPS are Santa’s helpers.
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/those-ads...rnet-are-ruining-christmas-1482507745
    Voting 0
  4. In Ghagaon, where a women’s cooperative runs the fair price shop, the internet has not worked even once. “We have to stand on the wall, or go near the pond, and ask everyone to come there to look for signal on the point of sale device,” said Mongra Sidar, a Gond Adivasi. “Or, we try inside the ration shop, then one person has to climb the chabootra elevated platform » , while another person stands on the ground to note down the details in the notebook.”

    In Raipur, officials said one lakh out of three lakh transactions using fingerprint authentication did not go through – a failure rate as high as 30%. They attributed the failures primarily to network connectivity problems and skin abrasions on fingers.
    Photographs as backup

    With fingerprint authentication failing for even genuine card holders who have been verified by local authorities, Chhattisgarh has come with an innovation: ration shop owners have been asked to take photographs of such people before giving them food rations.

    This photograph is stored in the government’s server. “It will serve as deterrent to ration dealers that even if there is a complaint six months later, the government can check if grains were given to the right beneficiaries,”

    “Earlier, we sent one boy on the bicycle to lift the rations for three households,” lamented Tapaswani Yadav, a middle-aged woman. “Now, it is a waste of time for everyone. Many elderly persons cannot walk, it is difficult for a few to even sit astride a motorcycle.”

    She added: “The machine is so slow, sometimes people reach the ration shop in the morning and return when the day is over.”

    Five technologies need to work together for biometric authentication to be successful – the point of sale device, internet connectivity, biometrics, the National Informatics Centre server, and the Unique Identity Authority of India servers. Invariably, one of the five fails.

    Shyamlal Dansena, the ration dealer in Dilari panchayat in Raigarh, said fingerprint authentication failed for 20% of the ration card holders on an average. But in October, he had to give grains to all 386 ration card holders after taking their photographs since the Samsung tablet purchased by the panchayat for enabling the Aadhaar-based transactions had stopped functioning.

    Dansena was preparing to travel 20 kilometers to Raigarh to get the tablet repaired. “The food officer said we can give November month’s grains only after the software is loaded again,” he said.
    http://scroll.in/article/822764/chhat...ar-when-fingerprints-fail-take-photos
    Voting 0
  5. France plans to create a single, unified database holding the biometric data from the passports and identity cards of 60 million citizens.

    The measure wasn't debated in the French National Assembly as it was brought in on a national holiday by government decree.
    Further Reading
    French government rejects crypto backdoors as “the wrong solution”

    The new database will hold an individual's name, date and place of birth, gender, eye colour, height, address, photograph, fingerprints, e-mail address, and the names, nationalities, dates and places of birth of parents, according to L'Express. The idea is to make it easier to obtain and renew identity documents, and to aid in the fight against identity fraud.

    It is not the first time France has sought to set up such a huge, centralised biometric database.

    In 2012, Nicholas Sarkozy's right-wing government tried to do the same. However, key sections of that law were thrown out by France's constitutional council on the grounds that the scope of the database was too broad, and that the police would be allowed to use it to identify individuals from biometric data.

    The French government apparently believes that the new decree will not suffer the same fate. It insists that the new database will only be used to authenticate individuals, not to identify them. That is, it will be used to check that they are who they claim to be, not to discover whose biometrics have been found at the scene of a crime, for example.
    http://arstechnica.co.uk/tech-policy/...se-biometric-data-60-million-citizens
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2016-11-07)
    Voting 0
  6. US citizens and other non-EU nationals who enter Europe will be asked to have their faces image-captured and fingerprints scanned upon arrival at a half-dozen major airports.

    The biometric dragnet is part of a pilot test of the EU’s so-called ‘smart borders’ package. Passengers can refuse to give the data for now but there are plans to eventually make it obligatory.

    A draft internal EU document dated Wednesday (18 February) and seen by this website says the “proof of concept” is set to start in March and will run until September this year.

    “Should traveller participation be lower than expected, there would be a high risk that the results of the tests would be biased or would not reflect reality,” notes the multi-million euro project.
    https://euobserver.com/justice/127719
    Voting 0
  7. Early in 2010, the UIDAI issued a Notice inviting applications for hiring of biometrics consultant. This document carried a candid admission that there was a total absence of evidence about biometrics in the developing world.

    "There is a lack of a sound study that documents the accuracy achievable on Indian demographics (i.e., larger percentage of rural population) and in Indian environmental conditions (i.e., extremely hot and humid climates and facilities without air-conditioning)." And, "we could not find any credible study assessing the achievable accuracy in any of the developing countries. UIDAI has performed some preliminary assessment of quality of fingerprint data from Indian rural demographics and environments and the results are encouraging. The 'quality' assessment of fingerprint data is not sufficient to fully understand the achievable de-duplication accuracy."


    Yet, the decision had already been made that photographs, fingerprints and iris data would be collected, and numbers generated after 'de-duplication', relying entirely on biometrics.

    In November 2011, the Director General of the UIDAI said in an interview: "Capturing fingerprints, especially of manual labourers, is a challenge. The quality of fingerprints is bad because of the rough exterior of fingers caused by hard work, and this poses a challenge for later authentication." Reports on authentication published by the UIDAI in March and September 2012 abound with the uncertainties surrounding biometrics.

    This, then, is an experiment with the entire population as the laboratory, in which the poor and the undocumented will have more to lose than the rest.

    Whose transparency?
    Biometric identification systems are not about identity, but about identification. Biometrics are stored and authenticated by an agency, and claims that persons make about who they are will be determined by technology and the person who wields the technology. The individual has no control over this process.


    It is also about exclusion where either the technology fails, or where persons exercise their judgment and decide that they do not wish to be databased and transparent to the state and those controlling the data, or where those controlling the technology refuse recognition. In India, the language of voluntary enrolment has already given way to mandatory enrolment and seeding the UID number to get food in the public distribution system, to get work, to get cooking gas, to receive scholarships and pensions, to open and operate bank accounts, to register marriages, in rental agreements and sale deeds and wills. The poor have little choice in the matter.

    Whether biometrics can uniquely identify is not the point. The point is that the regular run of people will feel watched and tracked and tagged and profiled, and that will have consequences for the way in which they constitute their politics and its expression. The vulnerability of poverty exacerbates this threat to freedom. Of course there will be someone somewhere who will say that the poor have no use for freedom.

    COMMENT FROM READER:

    the focus of the article is on the highly probable, in fact almost certain "tagging, tracking and profiling of people, with all due respects to the author, I beg to differ with her view that this would happen only to the poor. UID does not collect data on the poor alone, all though UIDAI has deceitfully couched the scheme as meant for the poor. UIDAI starts by saying the the UID Scheme is meant to provide identities to those who do not have IDs and proceeds to ask applicants to produce proof of identities! Secondly, the assumption that accurate identification of beneficiaries would lead better delivery of services is an extremely foolish one and intended to deceive politicians and bureaucrats into believing this falsehood. This too is a charade. The objective of the collection of biometrics is the vain hope that it could be somehow be used to control populations. Every dictator and tyrant, existing and potential, would like to give it a try. The democratically minded (like "Basic democracy" and "Guided democracy" practitioners) among this breed of politicians hope to "win" elections through devices such as cash transfers, which could be used as inducements to garner votes.
    http://www.unrisd.org/sp-hr-ramanathan
    Voting 0
  8. Has Nilekani or Congress party ever informed that its biometric Aadhaar is going to be used for surveillance and security? Also is this the reason why very few MPs, MLAs and ministers from Congress have subjected themselves to biometric profiling of Aadhaar or NPR?
    http://www.moneylife.in/article/aadha...c-profiling-ndashpart-xxxi/36850.html
    Voting 0
  9. The latest controversy involving the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is a testament to the basic privacy concerns raised at the scheme’s inception and repeatedly thereafter. In a sense, the Goa court order that sparked this particular incident — directing the UIDAI to give the CBI the biometrics of all enrolled people in the state in order to help investigate the gangrape of a seven-year-old girl — was inevitable.
    http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/edit...edit-blindfolding-big-brother-1970614
    Voting 0
  10. Online course host Coursera will verify the identities of participating students using web cams and technology that can fingerprint an individual’s unique typing style under a pilot project announced this week that aims to crack down on cheating.
    http://theconversation.edu.au/online-...-id-students-using-typing-style-11562
    Voting 0

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