There are over 1.21 billion Aadhaar holders in India.
There are over 1.21 billion Aadhaar holders in India.

Aadhaar data can’t be used for criminal probes: UIDAI

The clarification by UIDAI comes after the chief of the NCRB, Ish Kumar, suggested that limited access to Aadhaar data for police will help to identify first-time offenders

New Delhi: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Friday reiterated that biometric data collected by it cannot be used for any purpose other than generating Aadhaar and for authenticating the identity of Aadhaar holders.

The clarification by UIDAI comes after the chief of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Ish Kumar, on Thursday suggested that limited access to Aadhaar data for police will help to identify first-time offenders.

“The use of or access to Aadhaar biometric data for criminal investigation is not permissible under the Aadhaar Act," said UIDAI in a statement.

According to UIDAI, the Aadhaar Act allows a very limited exception and permits use of or access to Aadhaar biometric data in cases involving national security—and only after pre-authorization by an oversight committee headed by the cabinet secretary.

The Aadhaar Act describes biometric information as photograph, fingerprint, iris scan or such other biological attributes of an individual.

Over the last few months, UIDAI has been facing criticism on privacy grounds related to biometric data stored by it.

There are more than 1.21 billion Aadhaar number holders in the country.

Earlier this month, UIDAI restricted payment companies’ access to its database, citing concerns over their security systems. These companies have been allowed to only accept virtual Aadhaar numbers from customers.

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