If the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has its way, soon you will have smartphones preloaded with Aadhaar chips. These Aadhaar-enabled smartphones will enable easier identity authentication for accessing government services that work on the Aadhaar platform. UIDAI CEO, Ajay Bhushan Pandey, held a meeting this week with executives of top technology companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft and Micromax for this purpose, Economic Times reports.
What UIDAI has in mind is that the smartphones will come with a chip, encrypted with a UIDAI key, and will be connected to the Aadhaar server. The key will help keep information on the device secure whereas the Aadhaar server will provide instant access via fingerprint or iris authentication. UIDAI is banking on growing number of smartphones with fingerprint scanner and iris scanning technology.
“This can be a game-changing feature in phones to become the identity of a person and let him do more transactions on the phone in a secure manner. This is perhaps the first time something like this will be attempted in the world,” Pandey told the publication.
“Nearly 104 crore Indians have Aadhaar and almost 40 crore have smartphones. Every agency requires authentication via Aadhaar. If people don’t need to go to any office to authenticate their identity and get government services, and if they are able to do so through their mobile phones, this can be the big gamechanger,” he further explained.
UIDAI also has a solution for concerns about sending data to unsecure networks and companies being reluctant about opening up their operating system. According to the UIDAI CEO, the data will be encrypted by the UIDAI key at hardware level in phones that will make it impossible for anyone else to decrypt the information except for the Aadhaar server. The agency says it will ensure full privacy and security of biometric information.
On paper, UIDAI’s idea of Aadhaar-enabled smartphones seems noble, and could benefit a lot of people. However, getting global brands to come up with India-specific hardware is easier said than done.
Though fingerprint scanner and iris scanner are growing in popularity, they are far from becoming mainstream as yet. But the recent trends have been encouraging. Right now, fingerprint scanner is available on smartphones priced as low as Rs 5,500. The iris scanner is also making to the smartphones and tablets.