mfioretti: biometrics*

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  1. A centralised database, dual use as identifier and authenticator, and lack of sound legal framework are its main weaknesses.
    https://scroll.in/article/833230/expl...-of-its-design-and-the-way-it-is-used
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-09)
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  2. Aadhaar reflects and reproduces power imbalances and inequalities. Information asymmetries result in the data subject becoming a data object, to be manipulated, misrepresented and policed at will.

    Snowden: “Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

    Snowden’s demolition of the argument doesn’t mean our work here is done. There are many other tropes that my (now renamed) Society for the Rejection of Culturally Relativist Excuses could tackle. Those that insist Indians are not private. That privacy is a western liberal construct that has no place whatsoever in Indian culture. That acknowledging privacy interests will stall development. This makes it particularly hard to advance claims of privacy, autonomy and liberty in the context of large e-governance and identity projects like Aadhaar: they earn one the labels of elitist, anti-progress, Luddite, paranoid and, my personal favourite, privacy fascist.
    http://scroll.in/article/748043/aadha...n-its-the-only-way-to-secure-equality
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  3. One of the key reasons to kick off the Aadhaar-based identification system was to biometrically identify illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries. The irony is, now the Bangladesh government - a significant chunk of illegal immigrants in India are from Bangladesh - wants to study the model and replicate the system in the country. A team from Bangladesh is expected to visit India soon to meet officials from the National Population Register and the Unique Identification Authority of India, the nodal agency that issues Aadhaar cards. Another irony is that the two agencies have been at loggerheads over, among other things, the collection of biometric data and proof of identity.
    http://www.business-standard.com/arti...dhaar-the-paradox-115040201046_1.html
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2015-04-07)
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  4. The electoral verdict is evidence against the diagnosis and remedy of World Bank Group and its Indian votaries. The verdict indicates that political parties that support Aadhaar are bound to pay heavy electoral cost for their involvement and complicity in putting citizens to inconvenience through tried, tested and failed identification technologies of transnational companies.
    http://www.moneylife.in/article/aadha...d-abandon-the-biometric-id/35827.html
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  5. The UIDAI goes on about how biometrics are safe and out of reach. The truth is, biometrics are collapsing all round. The figures for biometric failure have been staggering. In Rajasthan, in the PDS, exclusion because of fingerprint failure has been close to 36 per cent — which means not even one person from 36 per cent households are able to authenticate using their fingerprints. Jharkhand has witnessed deaths because the poorest have had difficulty linking their UID number with their ration card. Documents in the UIDAI archive from between 2009 and 2012 show that biometrics was still in an experimental phase. That biometrics are not working as hoped is made evident in the Watal Committee report on digital transactions, in December 2016. At pp. 123-124, the committee says that biometric authentication requires the availability of internet and high-quality machines capable of capturing biometric details, making it contingent on these working. So, the committee asks that for digital transactions, the “OTP sent on registered mobile number of Aadhaar holder” be allowed, thereby downgrading biometrics.

    Digital payments are in the business interest; not PDS. So, while fingerprints cause huge problems to the poor, the business interest shifts to other means because biometrics are not dependable.

    The mantra has, in fact, been JAM — Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, mobile — three numbers that make up identity. It was in 2010 that Nandan Nilekani said to a reporter: “The slogan of “bijli, sadak, paani” is passé; ‘virtual things’ like UID number, bank account and mobile phone are the in-thing.” That is the imagination that is driving the project today. It is these three numbers that are being exposed in the breaches. Then, to say that all is well is clearly not quite the truth.

    The project is putting people, and the nation, at risk. Those in court challenging the project have been demanding that the project be scrapped — not just the UIDAI, but the project. The breaches explain why what they are asking makes sense.
    http://indianexpress.com/article/opin...-aadhaar-leak-aadhaar-details-5013305
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-07)
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  6. Security researchers have discovered a way to replicate a person's eye to bypass iris-scanning security systems.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18997580#TWEET178563
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2012-07-27)
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  7. 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
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  8. a person's gait and ears are as unique as their fingerprints, adding that they are harder to fake than more traditional forms of identification.

    He has built a biometric tunnel in his lab at the University of Southampton. It contains 12 cameras which measure a person's gait as they walk along it and take pictures of their ears.

    The tunnel is brightly coloured to optimise the contrast between the subject's clothing and background, making it easier for the researchers to capture a 3D image as they walk.

    "It's normal television technology - chroma key," he said referring to the green-screen backgrounds used to superimpose people against separately filmed scenes.

    "Nobody would be seen dead in a bright green suit, or a bright blue suit, or a bright red suit.

    "We haven't tested it on 60 million people yet but the results are very encouraging."

    No two people have yet been found to have the same results, and so far far nobody has been able to replicate somebody else's gait to the extent that it fooled the computer, Professor Nixon said.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20433998
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  9. 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
  10. The biometrics hacking team of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) has successfully bypassed the biometric security of Apple's TouchID using easy everyday means. A fingerprint of the phone user, photographed from a glass surface, was enough to create a fake finger that could unlock an iPhone 5s secured with TouchID. This demonstrates – again – that fingerprint biometrics is unsuitable as access control method and should be avoided.

    Apple had released the new iPhone with a fingerprint sensor that was supposedly much more secure than previous fingerprint technology. A lot of bogus speculation about the marvels of the new technology and how hard to defeat it supposedly is had dominated the international technology press for days.


    "In reality, Apple's sensor has just a higher resolution compared to the sensors so far. So we only needed to ramp up the resolution of our fake", said the hacker with the nickname Starbug, who performed the critical experiments that led to the successful circumvention of the fingerprint locking. "As we have said now for more than years, fingerprints should not be used to secure anything. You leave them everywhere, and it is far too easy to make fake fingers out of lifted prints." 1 »
    http://www.ccc.de/en/updates/2013/ccc-breaks-apple-touchid
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