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India’s ID authority cites new ‘security mechanism’ when asked about Aadhaar-based payment frauds

Aadhaar identification is mandatory for availing social welfare, making security measures crucial for financially vulnerable beneficiaries

The newly introduced AI-based fingerprint authentication mechanism for securing Aadhaar-based transactions by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is a measure to prevent cloning of Aadhaar-linked fingerprints, the UIDAI said on March 13, 2023, in a Right to Information (RTI) response to MediaNama. The RTI, filed on February 18, was primarily about financial crimes involving Aadhaar-Enabled Payment System (AePS) and the UIDAI provided no answers to queries specifically related to these much-discussed recurring frauds. In February, MediaNama wrote about a News Minute report on an inter-state gang involved in cloning Aadhaar-linked finger prints to siphon off money from people’s bank accounts using the Aadhaar-Enabled Payment System (AePS). The AePS enables transactions through Aadhaar authentication using just the bank name, Aadhaar number and fingerprint of the individual recorded during enrolment. The News Minute report was yet another reminder that the Aadhaar authentication system is not foolproof and it's pretty easy for cybercriminals to clone Aadhaar-linked biometric information of individuals to misuse it. Similar cases were reported in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. UIDAI’s response to MediaNama’s RTI: “This is to inform you against the information sought that UIDAI has rolled out artificial intelligence and machine learning (Al/ML) based security mechanism for fingerprint authentication which uses a combination of both finger minutia and finger image to check the liveness of the fingerprint captured to make Aadhaar authentication transactions even more robust and secure.” With the above-mentioned statement, they attached a press release on introduction of a new security system for…

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Curious about the intersection of technology with education, caste and welfare rights. For story tips, please feel free to reach out at sarasvati@medianama.com

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