Subscriber Discussion

Big Brother In India - Are Americans Even Aware Of This Massive 'aUto-Iris' Project?

They've already enrolled/scanned more people than the entire U.S. population!

In 2011, the Indian government launched a massive program to collect the iris patterns and fingerprints of all of its 1.2 billion citizens within three years. The numbers associated with the project are staggering. To date, more than 540 million people have enrolled in the optional program, with one million more joining every day across 36,000 stations operated by 83 agencies. Each new iris pattern must be checked against every other pattern in the database to detect and prevent duplication: this equates to almost 500 trillion iris comparisons each day. Apart from its scale, what makes UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) different is its purpose. It is not a security exercise or a means to control national borders, but a social development program whose stated aim is "to give the poor an identity."

Sign of the Times or Mark of the Beast?

A recent case involved laptop webcams routinely accessed without authorization by a commercial entity. This implies that a well-resourced actor who wishes to do so may have a path toward collecting iris patterns. The capability will only improve as laptop and webcam resolutions improve. What is unique about these cameras is the position of the user, with head filling more than half the image. This could enable adequate collection from single images as well as superresolution (correlation and compilation of independent frames yielding about 10x resolution improvement).

One could envision keyboards incorporating fingerprint sensors which could not be avoided during routine PC use.

"Sign of the times or mark of the beast?"

I do not know enough about India to have a position. I am curious about this claim:

"Once an individual has their Aadhaar, they can open a bank account without going to a bank, giving the government a secure place to deposit allowances and subsidies. Individuals can then withdraw money from their Aadhaar-associated account at a national network of 'micro-ATMs', which are often neighbourhood shops in villages and towns that do not have banking facilities."

And related benefits that the NYTimes claimed, like:

"Most of India’s poorest citizens are trapped in a system of village-based identity proof that has had the perverse effect of making migration, which is essential to any growing economy, much harder."

"By allowing electronic transmission and verification of many government services, the identity system would make it much harder for corrupt bureaucrats to steal citizens’ benefits"

"It would also serve as a shortcut to building real citizenship in a society where identity is almost always mediated through a group — caste, kin and religion."

"it would provide people with a way to interact with the state without depending on local officials who are now the main gatekeepers of government services."

I do not know if these claims are true. Can someone in India or with knowledge of Indian society comment on these claims?

India with 1.2 Billion People is very large for public amenities hence 60% of rural economy is without access to banks. We do have +50000 Branches and +20000 ATM's but its not enough..

India is struggling to provide for the pollution below the poverty line and ensure that the govt. Services reach the needy.

One major problem is Identification of citizens, we do not have any such document, hence the drive to enrol people and have Identity No. “Aadhaar” which has two biometric details, Finger Prints & Iris.

Such a massive drive and justification of the cost, (1.2Billion * XX USD = Trillion USD) would not be possible without listing the Benefits? The Urban Area already have the PAN ( Income Tax) & Passports, why would the rural India want an Identification..?

The so called benefits is a wishful thinking and Rational for “Aadhaar” but the Ground reality is mapping of the citizens…

Yep Big Brother, want to collect BioMetric Data.. easy to identify “Terrorist”, “Enemy of the State”, “Crooks”, etc.. ofcourse the same data is also used for social engineering and transforming the society but will they..? thats a trillion dollar question..


Thanks for the feedback! Why are people so many people signing up for this? Are they misinformed or are there really not so many people signing up?

Dear John,

the govt. has forced it on people, by making it mandatory to apply for any govt. services.. i.e without the "Aadhar" people are unable to apply for passport or Water / Gas Connection or avail any subsidised service from the Govt.

Boy, We are Govt. by the People, for the People and People Love Subsidised Goods and are wiling to enrol in prision camps for Subsidies.. and forget the subsidies are One Hand to Other.. rob Peter to pay Paul ... ;-(

for now, This has been over turned by the Supreme court of India and made the Aadhar optional and not mandatory. Lucky India, to have independent courts .

The govt, in a election year is silent and bidding its time, hence To be of the safe side, people still register because today or tommorw govt. will make this mandatory anywhich way,,, people are the real lossers.

Btw I missed an most Important BioMetric "photographing of the face" which is also collected :-)