UIDAI denies age is a factor in authentication
05 April 2018 13:48 GMT

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has said there is no evidence to say that biometric authentication success is dependent upon age, in response to claims that the elderly cannot use the service.

Slightly higher authentication failure rates have been observed only for fingerprints for senior citizens above the age of 70,” UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said in a written reply in the Supreme Court on Tuesday to a questionnaire from the petitioners challenging the Aadhaar scheme.

The petitioners have argued that Aadhaar is prone to biometric authentication failure and results in financial exclusion of senior citizens and those employed in manual labour.

Mr. Pandey said several alternatives to biometric authentication are available. Besides, an Aadhaar holder could always update his biometrics.

“Authentication failures do not mean exclusion or denial of subsidies, benefits or services since the requesting entities are obliged under the law to provide for exception-handling mechani- sms,” the UIDAI response said.

The authority said that out of 108,50,391 iris scans, 9,27,132 unique UIDs failed, that is, 8.54% of the total. Out of 6163,63,346 fingerprint scans, 369,62,619 failed. That is, 6% of the total. The UIDAI explained that in the “unlikely scenario” where both iris and fingerprint cannot be used for authentication, the mobile number can be used.