Aadhaar smartphone facilitating access to Govt services could be a reality

The government of India is backing a new Aadhaar card enabled smartphone project that will allow citizens to have better access to government-backed services and schemes.

The entire project though is still in the nascent stages with the Unique Identification Authority of India holding discussions with various smartphone manufacturers in the country to evolve a common consensus on the issue.

According to what the UIDAI has proposed, handsets sold in the country would come with an integrated chip containing the UIDAI encryption code. The chip will have direct access to the Aadhaar server that will let the device have access to the iris and fingerprint authentication details of the person concerned. The unique encryption code will serve to be the key identification factor to ensure it is a genuine card holder that is connecting to the Aadhaar servers.

Towards this, representatives from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft and Micromax have already been apprised of the government proposal. Ajay Bhushan Pandey, the CEO of UIDAI also stated there would be enough security measures in place to ensure the privacy of individual Aadhaar card holders is never compromised.

With a population of over 1.25 billion, about a billion of them already have enrolled in the Aadhaar card project. The government is also making it a point to link all government-backed schemes to the Aadhaar cards to ensure speedy and direct disbursement of funds or other facilities.

Now, with the proposal to reach out to the Aadhaar card holders directly via specialized smartphone, citizens no doubt will be better aware of government initiatives. That about 40 crore Aadhaar users already use smartphone does make the project economically viable enough as well.

As for the industry response to the above project, Samsung seems to already have a lead on this than the rest. For instance, it already has the Galaxy Tab Iris to show off which can authenticate the user for access to the government schemes or other banking procedures.

“Galaxy Tab Iris will support government benefit programs and enable banks and financial institutions to streamline the process of an individual’s authentication, regardless of language and literacy barriers,” said a Samsung representative.

Apple though has voiced concerns claiming such an Aadhaar chip enabled smartphone could compromise the security and privacy of the users as the government might have access to all of the user’s data. UIDAI officials though refuted such claims and said appropriate security measures can be put in place to rule out any such possibility.