The UIDAI issued a strong rebuttal to Moody’s Investors Service which claimed that the Aadhaar system often results in service denials and the reliability of biometric technologies, especially for manual labourers, in hot and humid climates is questionable
Taking strong exception to Moody’s Investors Service’s views, which questioned Aadhaar workability, the Central government on Monday said that the report is prepared “without citing any evidence or basis” and that it is baseless. Ministry of Electronics & IT in a press release said that the Aadhaar is the foundational Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) of the India stack and that over a billion Indians trust it.
International credit agency Moody’s Investors Service has made sweeping assertions against Aadhaar without citing any evidence, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said on Monday.
The UIDAI issued a strong rebuttal to Moody’s Investors Service which claimed that the Aadhaar system often results in service denials and the reliability of biometric technologies, especially for manual labourers, in hot and humid climates is questionable.
“A certain investor service has, without citing any evidence or basis, made sweeping assertions against Aadhaar, the most trusted digital ID in the world. Over the last decade, over a billion Indians have expressed their trust in Aadhaar by using it to authenticate themselves over 100 billion times,” the UIDAI said in a statement.
The unique id Aadhaar’s custodian said that the report in question does not cite either primary or secondary data or research in support of the opinions presented in it.
“The investor service did not make any attempt to ascertain facts regarding the issues raised by it from the Authority. The sole reference cited in the report is in respect of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), by referring to its website. However, the report incorrectly cites the number of Aadhaars issued as 1.2 billion, although the website prominently gives the updated numbers,” the UIDAI said.
It said that the report ignores that biometric submission is also possible through contactless means such as face authentication and iris authentication.
The report avers that the use of biometric technologies results in service denials for manual laborers in India’s hot, humid climate, an obvious reference to India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
However, it is evident that the authors of the report are unaware that the seeding of Aadhaar in the MGNREGS database has been done without requiring the worker to authenticate using their biometrics, and that even payment to workers under the scheme is made by directly crediting money in their account and does not require the worker to authenticate using their biometrics. The report ignores that biometric submission is also possible through contactless means like face authentication and iris authentication.
In addition, the option of mobile OTP is also available in many use cases,” it added further. The government said that the report also avers that there are security and privacy vulnerabilities in a centralised Aadhaar system.
“The factual position in this regard has been repeatedly disclosed in response to Parliament questions, where Parliament has been categorically informed that to date no breach has been reported from the Aadhaar database.
Further, Parliament has laid down robust privacy protections in the law governing the Aadhaar system and these are observed through robust technological and organisational arrangements. State-of-the-art security solutions are in place, along with a federated database and encryption of data both at rest and in motion.
The systems are certified as per international security and privacy standards (ISO 27001:2013 for Information Security Management System and ISO 27701:2019 for Privacy Information Management System), the ministry said.
While the vote of confidence of a billion-plus Indians is sufficient testimony to the value offered by Aadhaar, it is pertinent that a number of international agencies, including the IMF and World Bank, have lauded the role of Aadhaar. Several nations have also been engaged with the Authority to understand how they may deploy similar digital ID systems,” it said.