Grabbing biometric data from citizens was never a good idea, however noble the purpose (in this case for a national identity card). But now that the government has forced us to give up our privacy, why are the biometrics not being used for public good?
The government and the police have been unable to stop the increase in the crime rate. In the absence of obvious clues, the difficulty arises when the perpetrators are first time offenders. Fingerprints found at the crime scene are of no use if they don’t match any of the history-sheeters in the police records. And 80-85 % of criminals every year are first time offenders! Offenders who are free to commit more crimes!
The NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) wanted to use the biometric details of citizens (which citizens provided for their Aadhaar cards) to help them match fingerprints. And identify dead bodies. As many as 95 unidentified bodies are found every day in India!
The government did consider helping the NCRB, but the UIDAI (Aadhaar-issuing body) has refused, citing that this is “not allowed under the Aadhaar Act”.
Collecting biometric data for Aadhaar was wrong. But now that the government has it, I rather the police use it. Okay, so there is corruption in the police ranks. So give it judiciously to senior officials. Give it in part. But give it! Or maybe devise a system where the fingerprints are sent to the UIDAI for identification, and the police get the name and address of the offender.
Considering that the government can use the biometrics from Aadhaar to catch terrorists (the Aadhaar Act allows it in cases of national security), why not use it for the daily safety and security of citizens?