The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has been evading some key questions about its latest initiatives that aim to tackle Aadhaar-based frauds, which have only increased in the past couple of months. In response to MediaNama’s Right to Information (RTI) request for details about UIDAI’s recent collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-Bombay), the authority has not provided answers to any of the questions, citing blanket confidentiality for all. In April this year, the UIDAI issued a press release announcing its partnership with IIT-Bombay, to develop a touchless biometric capture system for fingerprint authentication. The UIDAI and IIT Bombay will be carrying out joint research to build the mobile capture system with a “liveness model”, which will identify if the fingerprint, or any other biometrics, is that of a real person or a spoofed one. What we asked: We asked the UIDAI to provide the following: Copy of UIDAI’s contract with the IIT-Bombay to collaborate on the project. Copy of any available official document, which is not confidential, detailing out the collaboration between UIDAI and IIT-Bombay for the project. Copy of the tender issued for the project. UIDAI’s response: “ln this regard it is to inform you that information sought cannot be made available to you as it is exempted as per Section 8(1) (d) of the Right to lnformation Act, 2005.” Section 8(1)(d) exempts any information which relates to commercial and trade secret, intellectual property, and the disclosure of which does not satisfy a larger public interest, from…
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