Macro/Finance Group, NIPFP

Open data and digital identity: Lessons for Aadhaar

Open data and digital identity: Lessons for Aadhaar, Amba Kak, Smriti Parsheera, Vinod Kotwal. November 2017.

Aadhaar, the largest national biometric system in the world, has been lauded for its promise to bring eXciencies to government service delivery, and the stimulus to private sector innovation. Yet it is contested and criticised for the vulnerabilities created by biometric data, potential threats to privacy and exclusion. However, in all of this, there has been relatively less exploration of the 'open data' possibilities from the Aadhaar ecosystem.

Every day, large volumes of data are being generated through the use of Aadhaar-enabled authentication and eKYC systems, both by government and private entities. The challenge now is to Vnd ways to nudge the UIDAI and all users of Aadhaar towards greater sharing of data, in privacy-protecting ways that do not create risks for Aadhaar-number holders. We propose an implementation framework that can achieve these goals by leveraging the existing provisions of the Aadhaar Act to create an open data ecosystem that balances the needs of openness and privacy.