Aadhaar data miners will serve prison term, pay fine

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 30 2010, 07:48am hrs
The Unique Identification Authority of India will be collecting a mountain of individual data, a treasure trove for data miners. But those illegally mining here better be prepared for jail terms and hefty fines.

The draft of the National Identity Authority of India Bill, 2010 put up on the Aadhaar website for comments proposes three years in jail for company officials and individuals for illegal mining of its data. Erring companies are also liable to pay a Rs 1-lakh fine, while individuals must cough up Rs 10,000 for violations. In the case of companies or corporate entities, the liability will also extend to their entire chain of command.

The Bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament during its Monsoon session.

There have been serious privacy concerns around setting up of the identification system, with civil society groups claiming that sensitive biometric information can be hacked by interested parties. But Nandan Nilekani, chairman of Aaadhaar project and former co-chairman of Infosys Technologies has countered this, saying he will evolve a set of best practices for all data registrars to better protect data.

The Bill codifies the working of the identification authority including changing its name to National Identification Authority of India. Nilekani is currently heading the authority, but the

Bill provides for a director-general and two others to be appointed at the same level to head the body, somewhat like the Election Commission of India.

The Bill also clarifies that the unique identification numberto be officially called an aadhar number will not be used to provide citizenship rights to a holder and will be there to only verify the identity of a person. No information pertaining to a persons caste, race, religion and creed would be solicited for an aadhar number.

The Bill has been put out for public comments. We hope we will be able to introduce it in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament, said a senior official. Minister of state for planning V Narayanswamy may pilot the Bill in Parliament.