New Delhi(dna): Following strong objections by the Intelligence Bureau to department of telecom (DoT) and unique identification authority of India’s (UIDAI) proposal of activating SIM cards simultaneously at the time of purchase by linking it with Aadhaar, the prime minister’s office has given clearance for partial roll out of the scheme in six major cities.
The pilot project will kick start from March 4, 2015 in metros like Delhi, Kolkata, Lucknow and Bangalore that have nearly full Aadhaar penetration and run for six weeks.
It would require the SIM purchaser to give his or her Aadhaar number at the time of purchase and give the digital impression of fingers by pressing them on a machine.
Earlier in October last year, to push ambitious Digital India programme to boost e-commerce, the PMO had agreed in principle to make Aadhaar number mandatory for getting new mobile connection and to retain the existing connection.
Based on IB objections that in an internal security audit had found several discrepancies in Aadhaar such as many ghost accounts, numbers being given on fake names and addresses, the union home ministry had said it would not object to the linking of Aadhaar with SIM if a clause is inserted in the agreement between DoT and service providers to give the identity and address proof of SIM card holder whenever requisitioned.
Informed sources said, the decision to link up SIM cards with Aadhaar for the rest of the country will be taken after finding out the problem areas in the pilot project, and if it is able to meet the concerns flagged by the IB,
All the data that will be generated during the process of the pilot project is expected to be shared with the IB by the telecom operators.
“We want them to have back hand data (like address, identity proof) of all the SIM providers that are linked up with Aadhaar so that when required we can seek the details of a particular SIM user, and to ensure data security by making the telecom operators liable,” said sources.
Secure storage and confidential retrieval is one of the biggest challenge in the case of Aadhaar as online tampering is a major issue.
Sources said, they have asked the UIDAI and the DoT to respond to them in writing which they have agreed to but so far their reply has not come.
However, a section in the security establishment thinks that linking Aadhaar with SIM is rather beneficial as this would make the dubious purchase of SIM difficult and would at least generate some real authentic data of biometrics to put the user at unease to use it for anti-national purposes.
“Linking Aadhaar is still a better option as SIM cards currently are purchased on the basis of proofs like voter ID cards, ration cards etc. many of which are fake and are even made for illegal Bangladeshi migrants. Aadhaar linked SIM would rather be stronger verification factor and as it is also being linked with PAN card and bank account numbers, it can be used to trace the financial as well as social whereabouts of a person,” an official said.