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Indian Ministry wants all users of matrimonial sites to be authenticated with Aadhaar

The Women and Child Development ministry has suggested that Aadhaar, India’s unique identity project, should be used to authenticate profiles on matrimonial sites, so that the government knows who in India wants to get married, and can help them find partners. It will also help ensure that people with criminal cases against them don’t get married, though they’re welcome in Parliament. Statistics will show in the future that people with Aadhaar cards are less likely to commit crimes. In case you didn’t get it – I’m kidding.

The actual story: the Economic Times reports, citing sources, that the Ministry wants the implementation of Aadhaar on Matrimonial sites because “there are hundreds of people who register online on matrimony sites every month and there are increasing instances of women being cheated while looking for grooms. There are men who have multiple accounts in different websites.” Strange wording in the report: incorporation of Aadhaar has been suggested, but “by early next year all matrimonial sites will have to comply”.

A few points on the basis of that report:

– Firstly, having multiple accounts in different sites is not an indication of deceit, especially given the sex ratio in many states in India. What’s a guy from Haryana, with 853 women to 1000 men, to do?

– Lest we forget, a senior BJP MP had chaired the Standing Committee damning Aadhaar. That the BJP Manifesto didn’t say anything about Aadhaar should have been indicative of its current disposition towards tracking.

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– Not to give the government any ideas, but if the Ministry believes that “background checks” are needed for using matrimonial sites, which, the report hints that the ministry believes are similar to online taxi services that don’t do thorough background checks, how soon before they decide ALL Internet usage needs to be authenticated using Aadhaar? I mean, there are other crimes being committed on the Internet: that’s one way of solving all of the governments Internet related problems, right? People with Aadhaar cards commit less crimes, it will soon be proven, because every little thing you do, online or offline will be scrutinised by government. While we’re at it, how about CCTVs inside people’s homes, with facial recognition linked to Aadhaar?

– Is this a money making scheme? Will businesses have to pay for API usage every time there’s Aadhaar authentication of users? That’s another layer of red tape to go through, and doesn’t really make doing business in India easier. Companies are probably better off setting up sites outside India, if their users will have to though yet another government mandated process for user authentication.

Read the Economic Times story here.

Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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