Speaking at the International Conference On “Spin-offs of Unique and National ID to Smartcards, RFID, Biometrics and eSecurity stakeholders” held in Delhi, R. Ramamurthy, Chairman of the Cyber Society of India said that the Universal Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had defined 12 parameters of data that will be used for India’s Unique ID (UID). Ramamurthy later told MediaNama the following details that would be captured for the Unique ID – an individuals:
— UID Number
— Right Hand Forefinger Print
— Name of Father
— UID of Father
— Name of Mother
— UID of Mother
— Date of Birth
— Place of Birth
Of the parameters mentioned above, the only parameter that cannot be duplicated is the biometric one. The only way that can be broken is if the database is hacked and the fingerprint is replaced.
The government is thus considering splitting the UID database into two sets of paramters – the primary database will be accessible on the Internet and used for access purposes and verification, while the secondly database is likely to be kept offline, and in multiple formats, and be used only if the primary data is in dispute. Secondary data could have multiple biometric features including Iris scan, hand geometry, and additional data including names of grandparents and greatgrandparents, because the hacker may not be aware of these things. Since the UID data is in digital form, it may be useful to include an email ID as an additional data parameter.
Ramamurthy said that data security will be the biggest challenge in the UID project. “The appropriate audit trail, and what was the value of the data before and after the access needs to be stored, as well as the mode of access to that data. These should be available for judicial scrutiny, and certified for integrity. Companies from countries suspected of cyberwarfare against India should be avoided in case of this project.”
It’s also important to keep in mind that the UID is primarily a number with user details stored for verification. Access will be separate, and, according to Ramamurthy, “the access devices are up to individual service providers.” Multiple access formats and devices, including RFID (contactless) Smart Cards and mobile phones are being considered. The government will use the UID for social welfare entitlements, prevention of illegal immigration, improving efficiency of governance, with a strong egovernance platforms through the UID.
Responding to a question on issues with India’s Voter ID project, Ramamurthy said that many things were not done in the right way, and though 83% of the Indian population has been covered by voters ID card, excluding the North East states. “That data cannot be used because there were errors, and the entire work has to be done again.”
Ramamurthy also told MediaNama that a pilot project for the UID is being planned in Bangalore.