India's controversial Aadhaar biometric identification system has created a slew of problems since it was set up in 2009. Some of these, security analysts have argued, can't be solved without fundamentally rebuilding the system.
Over the years, people have died due to exclusion of services, while others have faced fraud and financial losses. There have been a number of cases that raised questions about the security of the Aadhaar database, such as Aadhaar cards issued to Gods and dogs, and foreign citizens walking around with Aadhaar cards that had incorrect data on them.
Now, as the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the controversial Aadhaar identity project, here are just some of its biggest fails:
An eleven-year-old starved to death because her family didn't have Aadhaar-linked ration cards
Activists alleged that PDS outlets in Jharkhand's Simdega district refused to give rations to a family since their ration cards had been cancelled for not being linked to Aadhaar. Eleven-year-old Santoshi Kumari allegedly died of starvation on 28 September, after going without food for eight days.
At least 14 people have died of starvation in Jharkhand since they didn't have a Aadhaar card or it wasn't linked to the ration shop
At least 14 people have died of starvation in Jharkhand, the state where the Malhars live, activists say. They say the deaths have occurred since authorities cancelled old handwritten government ration cards last year and replaced them with the biometric Aadhaar card to weed out bogus beneficiaries.
A Kargil Widow Died After A Hospital Denied Her Treatment Without Aadhaar
In Sonipat, Haryana, a woman died after reportedly being denied treatment for not having an Aadhaar card. The woman, Shakuntala—the wife of a Kargil martyr—was accompanied by her son to a private hospital on 28 December for treatment.
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Fading fingerprints mean this ageing space scientist can't care for his son
PV Manoranjan Rao is an 81-year-old former ISRO scientist, and because of his age, his fingerprints weren't reliably being read by biometric machines. Most biometrics, particularly fingerprints, degrade with age as skin loses its elasticity, according to experts.
Sack full of thousands of Aadhaar cards sold as scrap for under Rs 200
In Jaipur, Rajasthan, personal data of thousands was being sold by the kilo. Thousands of Aadhaar cards turned up at a scrap dealership in the Jalupura area of the city, and it appears that these were Aadhaar cards people had applied for, but never received.
Geolocate people by caste and religion, and much more
Andhra has seen a number of leaks of government databases, which include people's Aadhaar numbers, allowing anyone to create a 360-degree profile of people using the UID. One publicly available database tracked all the medicines people buy, such as generic viagra, along with their phone numbers; and one that tracked pregnant women in ambulances in real time. In another instance, Aadhaar numbers and other personal details of farmers receiving subsidies from the government were made public, and could be located through a simple Google search. And Aadhaar numbers of SC students were exposed by another AP government website.
You don't need Aadhaar to be declared dead—but you can't get a death certificate without one
If you do not know a person's Aadhaar, or they don't have one, you need to put this down in writing before you can get the death certificate. And if you are found to have lied about this, that counts as a legal offence.
UIDAI's Aadhaar software hacked, ID database compromised, experts confirm
A patch—freely available for as little as Rs 2,500 (around $35)— allows unauthorised persons, based anywhere in the world, to generate Aadhaar numbers at will, and is still in widespread use.