India Forces A Billion People to Register for Security Database

Claiming that it is an attempt to ensure everyone receive the welfare and services due them, India today began forcing each of its 1.14 billion people to register with an online database. Using biometric data and personal information to authenticate, this system with assign a 12 digit number to each Indian. The claim that such a system will prevent fraud, increase efficiency and help the Indian on the street strains credulity given the government’s actions over the past several months.In rapid succession, India has threatened RIM if they do not decrypt their Blackberry users’ information; they subsequently expanded the threat to every single company with a site or tool that uses encryption. That, along with the government’s inability to clean a sink, makes their motivations . . . suspect.Although the project is being called elective, the ability of any employer or any government official to demand the ID makes it mandatory. The 12-digit number will be listed on, or embedded in, all major governmental cards, such as driver’s licenses.The project is being assisted by both domestic and diaspora technicians, including officials from the photo-sharing service Snapfish and the search engines Google and Yahoo, Sun and Intel. It is being led by Nandan Nilekani, the former CEO of Infosys. Infosys was the pioneer in off-shoring tech work to India.

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