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Handsets integrating Aadhaar must adhere to standards: Ajay Bhushan Pandey

UIDAI, which is in discussions with handset makers and operating system providers, today said companies wishing to embed the identification technology onto their devices will have to "adhere to encryption standards".

By: | Published: September 18, 2016 1:41 PM
Speaking to PTI, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said integrating Aadhaar into every handset is not mandatory.(Reuters)

Speaking to PTI, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said integrating Aadhaar into every handset is not mandatory.(Reuters)

UIDAI, which is in discussions with handset makers and operating system providers, today said companies wishing to embed the identification technology onto their devices will have to “adhere to encryption standards”.

The availability of smart devices that are Aadhaar-enabled will help people authenticate their Aadhaar biometrics on the phone itself to avail of various government schemes, subsidies and services.

Speaking to PTI, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said integrating Aadhaar into every handset is not mandatory.

However, companies that are looking at bringing new models with support for Aadhaar authentication will have to adhere to certain encryption standards.

Pandey said the talks are on with various players to “evolve” an encryption standard that works for both parties.

“We have had three rounds of discussions to discuss technical details… if a device manufacturer or an OS provider wants to provide Aadhaar authentication facility to consumers on their devices, then what is it that should be done?” Pandey asked.

He added that the discussions centred on exploring the steps that need to be taken by both the parties so that “a common framework emerges”.

The previous rounds of discussions have seen participation from representatives of Samsung, Lenovo, Sony, Micromax and others.

“… They have to build encryption standards… so that is what we are working on together. We are trying to evolve some encryption standard easy for them to implement and easy for us to accept. Several rounds of discussions have taken place and several rounds of discussions will happen in future,” the CEO added.

Micromax, Intex, Lava and Reliance Retail’s Lyf are in talks with US-based Delta ID, which claims to hold patent for iris-based recognition technology. If formalised, these handset makers will be able to integrate the said technology to make the devices Aadhaar-enabled, Delta ID co-founder Nirmal Prakash said.

Samsung is the only phone maker to have already embedded Delta ID’s ActiveIRIS technology in its Galaxy Tab Iris.

Pandey said UIDAI has offered handset makers the option that in case they want to use Aadhaar authentication on their mobile phones or tablets, the Authority will enable it when they conform to the security requirements as provided under the Aadhaar Act and its regulations.

“It is not as if every device sold will be forced to do this,” he clarified.

He cited the example of GPS feature that has come to become a standard feature on phones.

“We are saying if you see a market demand for Aadhaar-authenticated devices, then we will enable it. But if you want to do it, you have to adhere to encryption standards. Biometrics has to be of a certain specification… Camera has to be this much standard, encryption has to happen in a certain manner, so no one can break it,” he added.

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