Following a petition filed by a law professor against Aadhaar the Delhi High Court has agreed to hear a plea and the next hearing is scheduled to be on November 19. Meanwhile, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), body behind the digital ID providing to more than a billion people in India, has been asked to submit a written response to the petition within six weeks.
UIDAI is the operator of world’s largest biometric database and it has been alleged not to have adequate security measures to prevent data leaks.
Biometric and demographic details of more than 1.1 people have been collected by the government to assign a unique 12 digit identification code which is commonly called as ‘Aadhaar’ number. Lately there has been several reports of data leaks even though the government has regularly claimed to have implemented all the efforts into its protection including 13-feet high walls. The Aadhaar number in India is required for range of services like opening a bank account and getting cooking gas connections.
Professor Shamnad Basheer has urged in his petition to form an expert panel authorized in investigating and quantifying financial damages due to Aadhaar data leak. However, UIDAI has maintained its stand claiming complete protection measures have been implemented and the program has helped saving billions of rupees in disbursement of benefits to poor.
Basheer added, “The inability of respondent to secure the identity information of Aadhaaris, including that of the petitioner, has resulted in a serious and egregious violation of the fundamental right to privacy and dignity.”
In 2017 the apex court ruled privacy is an inalienable fundamental right and activists challenged database’s validity violates citizens’ privacy.