Other critics fear erosion of civil liberties. Misused, a national database could allow police or intelligence groups to discriminate against people by caste, religion or birthplace. According to The Wall Street Journal , "Numerous social studies show that knowledge of these identifiers adversely impacts delivery of services such as education and health care to disadvantaged citizens." Others worry that security will be inadequate. In November 2009, WikiLeaks published an internal working paper stating, "The UID Database will be susceptible to attacks and leaks at various levels."
Critics' arguments notwithstanding, IT organizations worldwide should monitor this impressive project. Begun in 2009, the 18-month initiative is a month ahead of schedule; pilot deployments begin this fall. If successful, the Aadhaar will have several byproducts. Other countries will likely adapt and adopt India's technology. In addition, the lesser-known companies contributing to the UID project will gain global recognition. And the concept of multiple-biomarker identification tools will be catapulted out of the movies and into everyday use. How long until your CEO demands them in your company's security systems?
Bart Perkins is managing partner at Louisville, Ky.-based Leverage Partners Inc., which helps organizations invest well in IT. Contact him at BartPerkins@LeveragePartners.com .
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