India urges Apple, others to embed government-funded biometric ID technology into smartphones

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in General Discussion
India's government recently invited Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung to discuss embedding government-funded biometric technology into products sold within the country as part of an effort to register and authenticate its citizens. Apple did not attend.




A contingency of the Aadhaar program, a government-baked biometric identity initiative supported by developed in a government-funded lab, India's request that the world's top smartphone makers include the tech could become an ultimatum, reports Bloomberg.

Ajay Bhushan Pandey, who heads the Unique Identification Authority of India, called for the meeting "a few weeks ago." Along with Apple's refusal to attend, those companies that were present were reportedly non-committal despite Pandey's urgings.

"Go to your headquarters and work this out so that we can have Aadhaar-registered devices," Pandey reportedly said at the meeting.

An Aadhaar-compatible device offers two forms of authentication: India's Aadhaar biometrics and, if available, a first-party solution like Apple's Touch ID. Users would be able to unlock their device and authenticate purchases via Touch ID as normal. Once Aadhaar is accessed, presumably through a dedicated app, its own security and encryption protocols take over, effectively locking out manufacturer safeguards. The mechanism is worrisome for both companies concerned with user privacy and unfettered access to user data, alike.

The Aadhaar project kicked off in September 2010, when India began collecting biometric information from all Indian citizens and storing the digitized data in a centralized database. As part of the process, all registrants receive a 12-digit ID number, India's equivalent of a Social Security number. As of April, 83 percent of India's population, or some one billion people, are registered with Aadhaar.

With Aadhaar in place, India's government is better equipped to fend off criminals looking to take advantage of the country's welfare system, the report said. At the same time, the program is used to send welfare allowances, pension and work payments directly to the bank accounts of millions of underserved citizens. Electronic funds transfers appear to play a key role in Aadhaar's rollout, a feature designed to stimulate use of financial institutions in a country where such services are only now taking root.

In September of 2010, it began collecting citizens' biometric and demographic data, storing them in a centralized database and issuing a unique 12-digit ID number to every man, woman and child. Aadhaar is the world's largest such program; as of April this year more than one billion people had signed up, or about 83 percent of the population.

India is only asking manufacturers to consider Aadhaar integration at this time -- Samsung already markets a compatible tablet in the region -- but the country could choose to mandate implementation. For Apple, Aadhaar represents yet another roadblock to breaking into the Indian market. Aside from user privacy implications, Aadhaar might also pose problematic for Apple's rollout of Apple Pay, as India recently activated a digital payments infrastructure latticed to its home-brew biometric framework.

Apple has for years sought approval to open and operate branded brick-and-mortar stores in India, but regional foreign direct investment trade policies have effecively hampered those efforts. Previous reports indicate members of the Indian government, including the cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are willing to work with Apple on a potential resolution, though an official Apple store has yet to open in the country.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    One of the reasons why India is so far behind China etc
    chaickaperkedelcalilostkiwiwatto_cobraanton zuykovronn
  • Reply 2 of 44
    LOL! They're out of their bloody minds.
    nolamacguycalilostkiwiwatto_cobracanadiandudejdwjgutheranton zuykovjbdragondoozydozen
  • Reply 3 of 44


    Get lost, India.
    perkedelcaliviclauyycgregg thurmanwatto_cobraSpamSandwichcanadiandudejdwtechprod1gyanton zuykov
  • Reply 4 of 44
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Reply 5 of 44
    Glad that Apple didn't attend. Also shows how low Samedung is. We are human beings, not cogs in some monstrous machinery.
    chaickacalilostkiwiviclauyycgregg thurmanwatto_cobracanadiandudejdwargonautjguther
  • Reply 6 of 44
    Biometric ID numbers? There is a simpler solution. A Final Solution.

    macseekerfastasleepviclauyycpoksiwatto_cobracanadiandudeargonautentropysjgutherjbdragon
  • Reply 7 of 44
    Modern Slavery
    watto_cobradoozydozen
  • Reply 8 of 44
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,119member
    Seriously scary stuff.
    viclauyycgregg thurmanwatto_cobracanadiandudeentropysjgutherjbdragonmagman1979doozydozen
  • Reply 9 of 44
    If China asks manufacturers for something similar I bet Apple would bend.

    The times where login biometrics are stored in a govt repository are surely coming. Requiring identification techniques like this would help defeat fraud and also help tracking of terrorists (they often hand off phones to one another to deceive govt snoopers tracking them). As Europe descends into a pseudo police state I'm sure they would like to have something like this. 
    SpamSandwich[Deleted User]anantksundaramrajeshkhater
  • Reply 10 of 44
    ahhh no.
    gregg thurmananton zuykovmagman1979doozydozen
  • Reply 11 of 44
    Oh HELL no.
    viclauyycgregg thurmananton zuykovmagman1979doozydozen
  • Reply 12 of 44
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    "Apple did not attend"

    I laughed and stopped reading there. Let droid users have their privacy compromised.
    gregg thurmanwatto_cobraargonautmagman1979doozydozen
  • Reply 13 of 44
    Yeah....no.
    gregg thurmananton zuykovdoozydozen
  • Reply 14 of 44
    mubaili said:
    One of the reasons why India is so far behind China etc
    Given China is ruling by an evil "communist" party.
  • Reply 15 of 44
    "Once Aadhaar is accessed, presumably through a dedicated app, its own security and encryption protocols take over, effectively locking out manufacturer safeguards" this right here, if true, is why Apple won't do it. Like Steve, Tim is highly against trusting Apple users data, privacy etc to third parties, especially government connected ones
    watto_cobraanton zuykovmagman1979doozydozen
  • Reply 16 of 44
    securtis said:
    The times where login biometrics are stored in a govt repository are surely coming.
    when it's the law, perhaps. until then, nope
    watto_cobradoozydozen
  • Reply 17 of 44
    The forests of north Idaho and northwest Montana are beckoning.  All I have to do is forego modern conveniences and a 10 minute drive to a grocery store.

    This is the dumbest idea ever.

    India's biggest problem isn't welfare fraud, its the corruption at the top (according to my East Indian brother-in-law) that prevents the common man from advancing and the well connected from being prosecuted.
    watto_cobraentropysjkichlineasdasd
  • Reply 18 of 44
    croprcropr Posts: 1,080member
    If I have to choose the organisation that stores and manages my biometric details, I would prefer a democratic elected government much more than any private company.  With an elected government , I can at least undo my mistake at the next election.
    When Tim Cook calls the democratically elected EU institutions crap, this just confirms my point.  I don't want to put the control over my biometric details in the hands an arrogant CEO, who thinks he is allowed much more than any other person because his company is so successful.
    [Deleted User]
  • Reply 19 of 44
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,606member
    cropr said:
    If I have to choose the organisation that stores and manages my biometric details, I would prefer a democratic elected government much more than any private company.  With an elected government , I can at least undo my mistake at the next election.
    When Tim Cook calls the democratically elected EU institutions crap, this just confirms my point.  I don't want to put the control over my biometric details in the hands an arrogant CEO, who thinks he is allowed much more than any other person because his company is so successful.
    You sir, are living in a fantasy land, do you think your vote counts?  Maybe if you are one of the dumb masses who votes for the shiny shiny then yes if you are a measured intelligent person, then no. Just look at the USA and the 2 choices they have, do they want either of those, it's like a choice between a rock and a shit sandwich. 
    poksiwatto_cobramonstrosityentropysjkichlineredraider11aderuttermagman1979
  • Reply 20 of 44
    sreesree Posts: 147member
    Ok, too much mis-information going on here. 

    - Aadhar is not mandatory. The Supreme Court of india ruled on it and made it non-mandatory. Despite it being optional about 83% of the people are already registered for Aadhar and the rest are just being lazy or ignorant. So, nobody has forced anything.

    - There are strict guidelines on what the biometric information can be used for (again the supreme court ensured that). So, for ex. the biometric information can't be used by the Police etc. etc. It is purely for the welfare and social security system and general identification/authentication. There are a myriad cards or ids currently (like driving licence, PAN cards etc.), and Aadhar unifies various existing systems and eliminates wastage and crime. Unlike in developed countries, welfare crime in india is very high.

    - The article doesn't give enough information on what the government wants, but not attending a meeting where their requirements/justifications are presented is just stupid. 

    Regarding Apple Pay, NFC is non-existent in india, don't see it picking up anytime soon. So, I don't think apple should even be bothered about it.
    fastasleeppmaster[Deleted User]
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