wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Crores of pensioners to be verified using UIDAI-linked facial recognition app

Linking the pension process to facial recognition authentication has been done before but the risks remain.

The Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare (DoPPW) has launched a facial recognition-based app to verify pensioners and detect their liveness, according to a press release. The app, available only on Google Play Store for now, uses the Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI) AadhaarFaceRD mobile application and facial database to issue life certificates,  DoPPW Joint Secretary S.N. Mathur told MediaNama.

In order to receive their pensions, pensioners have to annually create life certificates – a process which has been increasingly digitised through fingerprint or iris scanning. The app, developed by a team under the IT Ministry (along with the UIDAI) is also awaiting clearances for Apple’s App Store, MediaNama has learnt.

The use of facial recognition and Aadhaar in e-governance projects has been increasing despite experts voicing concerns on privacy as well as the legality and accuracy of such software. In fact, in August, the Internet Freedom Foundation had sent a legal notice to the Meghalaya government’s Department of Finance when it rolled out a similar app.

How does the pension disbursement take place?

At the Central level: Following successful verification through the app, a Digital Life Certificate is issued to the pensioner as well as sent to the bank which can then send the pension in case of central government employees.

At the state level: In the case of state government employees, the certificate is also sent to the respective state’s treasury department. According to the app’s instruction manual, after downloading it, the app operator (which can also be the pensioner) has to scan their face keeping in mind the lighting, face position, and whether or not they’re wearing glasses.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Neither the treasury department nor banks come to know whether the authentication is done via facial recognition or through the existing method of fingerprint scanning, Mathur revealed.

Concerns with the Meghalaya government’s app

The Meghalaya government’s app verifies and detects pensioners’ ‘liveness’ and then stores the data on a local server. Given the similarity between the two applications, these objections remain relevant:

Violation of Puttaswamy judgement: The IFF argued that the app violates principles of the 2017 Right to Privacy Judgement (or Puttaswamy Judgement), related to the processing of sensitive data. These are – principles of lawfulness, fairness, and transparency; data minimisation and collection limitation; purpose limitation; storage and retention limitation; accuracy; integrity and confidentiality of data; and principles of accountability.

Sensitive data left vulnerable: The digital rights advocacy group also argued that since the app does not have legislative backing, it does not provide recourse to Meghalaya’s citizens in case their data is misused or breached, a sunset clause on data retention, as well as an opt-out mechanism.

Inaccuracy of FRT systems: IFF cited studies showing a higher rate of FRT inaccuracy in geographically, racially homogenous groups to raise concerns about the app’s accuracy.

After receiving a response from the government in November, IFF said that it is currently mulling further legal action on the matter. Pensioners’ bank accounts also have to be mandatorily linked with Aadhaar to receive the amount – a matter that has been challenged in court.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Also read:

Have something to add? Post your comment and gift someone a MediaNama subscription.

Written By

I cover health technology for MediaNama, among other things. Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

Views

News

Looking at the definition of health data, it is difficult to verify whether health IDs are covered by the Bill.

News

The accession to the Convention brings many advantages, but it could complicate the Brazilian stance at the BRICS and UN levels.

News

In light of the state's emerging digital healthcare apparatus, how does Clause 12 alter the consent and purpose limitation model?

News

The collective implication of leaving out ‘proportionality’ from Clause 12 is to provide very wide discretionary powers to the state.

News

The latest draft is also problematic for companies or service providers that have nothing to with children's data.

You May Also Like

News

Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

Advert

135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...

News

Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

News

By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Name:*
Your email address:*
*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ