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Apple, Google not ready for Aadhaar encryption

If it happens, Apple and Google would lose the ability to track users online

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: Sep 14 2016 2:04PM | Updated Date: Sep 14 2016 2:04PM

Apple, Google not ready for Aadhaar encryption

 After India burdened its relationship with various global technological industries, it has come up with a new idea according to which the country could force companies to use technology cooked up in a government-funded lab.

 
The plan is seen as a part of India’s national biometric identity program called Aadhaar. According to the plan, if companies fail to join the effort, it may limit the industry's access to a vast and growing market. 
 
Amidst this, Apple and Google are expected to resist opening up their phones and operating systems to the Indian registration, encryption and security technology.
 
To discuss the plan with authorized personalities of various technological companies, few weeks ago, executives were invited from Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp.,Samsung Electronics Co. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google but Apple did not come to the meeting.
 
According to the plan, Indians would need to log into their smartphones using the manufacturer's biometric authentication, typically a fingerprint or iris scan. But once they access Aadhaar using the government's encryption, the likes of Apple and Google would lose the ability to track users online, forfeiting the ability to mine that data to sell ads or other products and services.
 
What invited objection from the tech companies to not to allow government install its authentication software on their gadgets is the for fear of security breaches and hacking attacks.
 
Also, Civil liberties and citizens' groups say the program violates Indians' privacy; others warn that Aadhaar's servers could be hacked and compromise national security.
 
Interestingly, none of it makes a difference in government’s mind as the government is moving ahead and in recent weeks has rolled out a digital payments infrastructure built on top of the programme.
 
To everyone’s surprise, Aadhaar is the world's largest such program; as of April this year more than one billion people had signed up, or about 83 percent of the population.