UIDAI CEO’s presentation to SC shows one biometric authentication attempt, which too failed!

Did Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Chief Executive (CEO) of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) try biometric authentication and fail? Documents submitted before the five-judge Constitutional Bench, show a long list of attempts to use Aadhaar authentication. There only attempt out of 26 attempts to use biometric authentication. And that also failed! Despite this, the UIDAI is gung-ho about ‘robustness’ of its Aadhaar biometric authentication process.

It is not clear whose attempts these were. But it looks like the person had a better knowledge about using Aadhaar authentication system and used one time passcode (OTP) as most preferred method rather than biometric. They were most likely that of the UIDAI CEO himself because it would not be lawful for him get data for anyone else’s authentication attempts.

The document showing Aadhaar authentication has 26 records between 3 November 2017 to 5 March 2018. Out of this, except one, all authentications were attempted through one time passcode (OTP). Only on 16 January 2018, biometric was used at IDFC Bank for authentication, which shows as failed with an error code of 330. Even with using OTP as authentication, there were four failures with ICICI Bank Ltd as authentication user agency (AUA). Overall, by his own submission, the UIDAI CEO admits authentication failure at about 20% of the attempts.


Talking about success rates of biometric authentication, Mr Pandey had told the Supreme Court that for government systems the success rate is 88%, for banks it is 95%, and for telecom it is 97%. “It is lower for government because vested interests are spreading misinformation and the media is helping them,” he alleged.

The documents submitted by Mr Pandey, however show a different picture about Aadhaar authentication.

Without disclosing the sample size, the UIDAI CEO informed the Bench that it had conducted a proof of concept where they visited senior citizens in their homes and found 83% success rates and 90% for Iris. Mr Pandey also said now the UIDAI have developed face recognition technology, which is even more accurate and will be rolled out soon. It is another matter whether even 90% success is enough in time-critical situations like hospitals or boarding an airline, since the government wants to make Aadhaar mandatory in every possible activity.

— source moneylife.in


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