The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has informed the Delhi High Court that core biometric information collected by the authority under the Aadhaar Act shall not be shared with anyone for any reason whatsoever. UIDAI further said that it does not collect biometric information based on technology, stands, or procedure suitable for forensic purposes.
UIDAI, in its affidavit filed in Delhi HC, stated that core biometric information has been defined in Section 2(J) of the Aadhaar Act to mean fingerprint, iris scan, or such other biological attribute of an individual as may be specified by Regulations. “Therefore, there is a clear prohibition under the law against sharing or using core biometrics for any reason whatsoever.” The UIDAI affidavit came as a reply to a court query in a 2018 robbery and murder case in which the prosecution sought certain biometric data collected at the site to be matched with the Aadhaar database.
“Biometric information is unique to an individual and therefore is sensitive information and needs to be protected to thwart any possibility of misuse. As is evident from the above-mentioned provisions, sharing of biometric information or the use of biometric information for any purpose other than the generation of the Aadhaar number and authentication under the Aadhaar Act is impermissible. Moreover, no Aadhaar data can be shared by any individual or entity with any individual or entity without the consent of the resident for that particular purpose,” the affidavit read. UIDAI further submitted that even otherwise, the authority does not collect biometric information i.e. iris scan and fingerprints based on technologies, standards or procedures suitable for forensic purposes, and therefore using the biometric data for random matching purposes may not be technologically feasible and shall be beyond the purview of the Act.
“The Aadhaar technology only permits biometric authentications which are done on a 1:1 basis for which it is necessary to have the Aadhaar number of an individual,” they said, adding the UIDAI does not collect biometric information i.e. iris scan and fingerprints based on technology, stands or procedure suitable for forensic purpose. “Therefore, 1:N search of chance fingerprints and photographs with no Aadhaar number and no demographic details as requested by the Petitioner is not only beyond the mandate and scope of the UIDAI but is also technologically unfeasible,” said the reply copy.