The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Wednesday sought to dispel the apprehension that data generated in the course of identity authentication by the entities needing it could be aggregated and result the mapping and profiling of Aadhaar holders.
Appearing for UIDAI, senior counsel Rakesh Dwivedi told the five judge Supreme Court constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. Hearing a spate of cases challenging Aadhaar’s constitutional validity, that the UIDAI can’t do it and no single requesting entity, which are all under the state’s control, accessing UIDAI for the authentication will have all the data.
He was responding to a poser by the bench that fingerprints alone may not be a cause of concern but when they get attached to birth, admission to primary school, further education, CBSE exams, admission to hospital and so on, they become the source of aggregation and hence the need for data protection.
He told bench also comprising Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan that the authentication of an individual was not taking place on daily basis, as in many cases, it is once a year or far and few.
Pointing that there is potential technology to aggregate the information of requesting entities, Justice Chadrachud said that the UIDAI has to examine what safeguards have been put in place to prevent the barter of information and the aggregation of information is not allowed.
Justice Chandrachud had expressed the same concern for the protection of Aadhaar data as he had during April 12 hearing when he had described individual data as a “goldmine of commercial information”.
Telling the constitution bench that ration card or other such identities could not be a substitute for Aadhaar, which he described as “universal”, Dwivedi said that Aadhaar Act truly seeks to secure to the people and deprived persons an opportunity to live their lives with dignity and exercise their liberty.
The Aadhaar Act does so “without impacting the fundamental right to privacy of others” or aceat best minimally impacting it with adequate safeguards”, Dwivedi told the bench.
Dwivedi will continue to address the court on Thursday.