The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is a central government agency of India. Its objective is to collect the biometric and demographic data of residents, store them in a centralised database, and issue a 12-digit unique identity number called Aadhaar to each resident. It is considered the world’s largest national identification number project.A sample of Aadhaar card.jpg
The three private entities contracted by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for biometric solutions for Aadhar, have strong ties with the US and the French intelligence or defence establishments. The machines that collect fingerprints and iris scans are being supplied by L1 Identity Solutions, a US security and identity company, which is a major contractor for the US intelligence and defence department. George Tenet, ex-chief of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Loius Freeh, former head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Admiral Loy, who was the acting director of US Homeland Security are among current or former members of L1’s board of directors.The de-duplication of Aadhar data is being done by MorphoSatyam, a consortium formed between Mahindra Satyam and Morpho, which is a subsidiary of Safran, a French identity and defence supplier. The French government owns 30% stake in Safran and has four representatives in its board of directors. In July 2010, Safran acquired L1 Identity Solutions and partly merged it with Morpho.The UIDAI gave contracts for processing and verifying biometric data to Morpho-Satyam, L1 Identity Solutions and software company Accenture on 30 July 2010 without a tender process.

On 20 September 2010, Morpho signed a merger agreement with the American Identity Company. In effect, the UIDAI has given two contracts to the same company. An email sent to UIDAI officials, including chairperson Nandan Nilekani, enquiring whether UIDAI was aware of the upcoming merger between Morpho and L1 Identity Solutions, did not fetch a reply.A striking instance of conflict of interest is the contract given to Syscom Corporation in Noida to enrol people for Aadhar. Syscom, which was empanelled to collect Aadhar data in all states and union territories, is an Indian subsidiary of Safran.If biometric data collected by Syscom is de-duplicated by Morpho-Satyam, you have a situation where the agency collecting the data and the one verifying it to check possible duplication by the enrolment agency, are both owned by Safran. The biometric technology used belongs to L1 Identity Solutions, again owned by Safran.Sachin Datta of Syscom, however, says there is no safety issue or conflict of interest. “Morpho and Syscom are two separate entities. The data we send to the UIDAI is encrypted and more than one company is involved in the de-duplication,” he said.

Robert La Penta, the head and founder of L1Identity Solutions, has been dogged by controversy. Before he founded L1, Penta worked for LoralSpace and Communications, which he left as vice-president in 1996, two months after the crash of a Chinese rocket which used Loral’s technology. After investigation, the US State Department accused Loral of passing sensitive material to the Chinese illegally and the company paid a fine of US $20million in 2002 to settle the charges without admitting guilt.

“If you have given the job of data gathering, verification and storage to private entities with links to foreign intelligence agencies, it makes it CHILDISHLY SIMPLE FOR THESE AGENCIES TO CREATE FAKE IDENTITIES OF INDIAN CITIZENS.What prevents any of these companies from enrolling people under multiple identities and clearing their biometric data when it is sent to them for de-duplication? Even more dangerous, if you are giving such private entities access to the database, FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES COULD ACCESS INFORMATION ABOUT EVERY INDIAN CITIZEN,” said Colonel Mathew Thomas, a former army officer, who is familiar with intelligence operations.

UIDAI has made conflicting statements about whether these companies would have access only to biometric data for de-duplication or whether they will be provided with access to demographic data as well. The demographic data collected by various registrars include highly personal information like bank account numbers, e-mail Ids, mobile numbers etc. Mails send to UIDAI officials, Safran and Mahindra Satyam asking for clarification about the data given to these companies and about the existence of technological safeguards or auditory mechanisms to prevent data theft and manipulation, were not answered.

Accenture originated as the business and technology consulting division of Arthur Anderson , before it split from Anderson in 2000. Arthur Anderson, one of the largest accounting firms in the US, surrendered its public accounting licence after it was implicated for its loose accounting in the Enron scandal, one of the biggest corporate frauds in American history. Accenture also paid millions in a court verdict against it for bribery

On 16 November 2010, Nandan Nilekani was given the ID Limelight award by the ID World International Congress in Milan. Safran was one of the primary sponsors of the event. Some anti-UID activists point out that Morpho-Satyam was given the contact by UIDAI barely three months back. In 2008, the same award was given to Tariq Malik, deputy chairperson of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Pakistan‘s version of the UID project.The biometric solutions for NADRA are also being provided by L1 Identity Solutions.Source Sunday Guardian 2011


Four years after the article in the Sunday Guardian an RTI activist Anil Galgali submitted an RTI query on the project  In the reply, the UIDAI officials disclosed that total project contracts worth Rs 13,663.22 crore were awarded without any tenders of which an amount of Rs.6,563 crore has been already spent on issuing 90.3 crore Aadhar Cards till May 2015.

They further informed that a total 25 companies were awarded different responsibilities for the massive project and their empanelment was done under the process guidelines of Request For Empanelment of May 19, 2014.

List of Companies Awarded Contracts by UIDAI

1 HCL Infosystems

2 HP India Sales Pvt Ltd

3 Wipro Ltd

4 MAC Associates

5 National Informatics Centre Services Inc

6  Sagem Morpho Security Pvt.Ltd (Safran Subsidiary)

7 Totem International Ltd

8 Linkwell Telesystems Pvt Ltd

9 Sai infosystem (India) Ltd (Its promoter Kakkad was arrested for fraud)

10 Geodesic Ltd

11 ID Solutions



14 Telsima Communication Pvt Ltd

15 Aircel,

16 Bharti Airtel Ltd,

17 BSNL,

18 RailTel Corporation of India Ltd,

19 Reliance Communications,

20 Tata Communications

21 Tata Consultancy Services Ltd

22 Satyam Computer Services Ltd. (Mahindra Satyam)

23 L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company (CIA links)

24 Syscom Corp (Safran Subsidiary)

 25 Morpho Satyam (Safran Subsidiary) 

Here’s a  short but incisive analysis of Nandan Nilekani in the book Servitors of Empire: Studies in the Dark Side of Asian America by Darrell Hamamoto


nilekani-2Before the 2014 election in December 2013  some media outlets  put out a rumour that Nandan Nilekani would be the Congress party”s PM candidate to replace Manmohan Singh after Manmohan made it clear he would not be leading the Congress whether it won or lost the 2014 polls .The Congress did not dismiss the rumours but termed it “hypothetical ” It was an open secret that everyone expected a BJP or BJP lead Govt to take over in 2014 Nilekani did join the Congress party but thankfully lost the elections from Bangalore He still remains with the Congress and should it do well in 2019 no one knows if such “rumours” wont resurface

As if a very intrusive biometric plus democraphic database wasnt enough the Govt has  created another massive database called the National Population Register

The National Population Register (NPR) is a Register of usual residents of the country. It is being prepared at the local (Village/sub-Town), sub-District, District, State and National level under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. It is MANDATORY for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR. The database would contain demographic as well as biometric  particulars. Source

The Govt has  decided to update the National Population Register  (NPR) and seed the Aadhaar number in the NPR database.

The Demographic details the NPR includes are

  • Name of person
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Father’s name
  • Mother’s name
  • Spouse’s name (if married)
  • Sex
  • Date of Birth
  • Marital status
  • Place of birth
  • Nationality (as declared)
  • Present address of usual residence
  • Duration of stay at present address
  • Permanent residential address
  • Occupation/Activity
  • Educational qualification

To this compulsory database the Govt wants to add your Finger Print and Iris Scan

By “seeding” one compulsory NPR database with a supposedly optional (Aadhar)A COMPULSORY SUPER DATA BASE IS FORMED WITHOUT THE SAFEGUARDS THE AADHAR SYSTEM HAS

In late November 2012, a former Karnataka High Court judge, Justice K. S. Puttaswamy, and a lawyer, Parvesh Khanna, filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the Aadhar scheme in the Supreme Court of India.On 23 September 2013, the Supreme Court issued an interimorder saying that “no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card in spite of the authority making it mandatory”. The court noted that the government had said that Aadhaar is voluntary.“Aadhaar shall remain optional: Supreme Court”. The Hindu.
In March 2014 the BJP said it would revokeAadhar if it came to power “Aadhaar a ‘fraud’, will review it if voted to power: BJP”. . BJP national spokeswoman Meenakshi Lekhi termed the programme as a “fraud” perpetrated on the people of the country while seeking the probe.A thorough CBIprobe is needed on the moneyspent and why Aadhaar was made mandatory,” she said.On 8th April 2014 this is what the BJPs Prime Ministerial candidate tweetedmodi-aadharOn 1 July2014, the former UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekanimet with the Prime Minister  Modi and Finance Minister  Jaitley to convince them of the project’s merits.On 5 July 2014, Modi announced that his government retain the project and asked official to look into linking the project with passports.


On 11 March 2016, the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016, was passed in the Lok Sabha.The Globalist Finance Minister Arun Jaitley actually used a stratagem of passing the bill as a Money Bill to avoid voting the Rajya Sabha where the BJP was in a minority

In an Op Ed piece in the Indian Express Why Supreme Court judgment on Aadhaar calls for an appeal Nilekani peddled UIDAI like a good marketing man

Sifting through the op-ed’s verbiage, one finds Nilekani reiterating the old claims of the biometric lobby that Aadhaar will effectively eliminate leaks in the welfare schemes, which is bleeding the country’s economy.In addition, Nilekani says:

  • He’s okay with Aadhaar being declared voluntary by the SC but not okay with the SC limiting Aadhaar usage to only cooking gas and public distribution system (PDS) benefits
  • Aadhaar database is “ignorant” (meaning neutral) about how it is used
  • Aadhaar’s system is federated and secure, and privacy-respecting by design

All three points can be refuted

First, in prioritising the need to plumb leaks in welfare subsidies, Nilekani, like most business czars of this country, lays bare his obsession with policing the poor and schemes that benefit the most vulnerable rather then much larger leaks by the rich industrialists for example   .States like Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Bihar have shown that leaks in the PDS can be plugged using non-tech methods like colouring food-grain trucks bright yellow or low-tech methods like sending one-time passwords to mobile phones.

Second regarding Aadhar database being “ignorant or neutral” Nilekani is being disingenuous  The UIDAI website declares that agencies who wish to use the database will have to declare purpose and nature of business.So if UIDAI knows Corporation X is a payment processing agency, when Corporation X does a Know Your Customer (KYC) call, the UDIAI system knows a payment was processed on behalf of the citizen whose data was queried. And because Aadhaar wants to become the one-stop identity shop for all types of work from clinics to banks, employment, crime, voting and so on, it’s trivial to connect the dots of individual KYC calls made for a certain individual and build up a complete surveillance image of that person. Imagine the potential revenue that can be made from mining and selling such data.

His third claim is that Aadhaar data is federated and, therefore, secure and privacy-respecting by design couldn’t be further from the truth . The Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) is anything but decentralised. The CIDR stores both the demographic and the biometric data all in one place — that’s how Aadhaar is designed and does its KYC. So anybody who has (or gains) access to that one point has access to all of the data. Keeping so much data in one place is a recipe for disaster.

Instead of following his own advise laid out in the April 8 tweet Modi keeps linking newer schemes everyday with the Aadhar biometric  database Source Aadhar News Why Nandan Nilekani’s sales pitch for Aadhaar is hard to buy?

One of the more interesting mysteries of Aadhar is how Modi has gone from (rightly) being a critic of Aadhar and its security issues to an active supporter of it He’s in a sense actively going against the Supreme Court extortion’s to limit its use by advocating linking Aadhar to bank accounts

indexnilekaniThe top part says link your Aadhar card to your bank account The tagline in the blue square says My mobile my bank my wallet The Prime Minister of India extolling people to link their Aadhar cards to their bank ACs AND their mobiles

Modi has of late been extolling the virtues of a cashless society which he claims (without any iota of evidence) will miraculously help the Government wipe out poverty

Imagine the nightmare if a database of all three (Aadhar biometric plus demographic data, bank ac details and mobile details) get hacked  using the linkages Modi speaks of
The possibilities for misusing this system are mind-boggling It only takes one hack of the CIDR to get a massive billion plus biometric AND demographic data bank (if such data isnt already in foreign hands) The linkages to bank and mobile acs is just the icing to the cake


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  1. Dr. Mashoor Gulati says:

    I am an Indian and got that Aadhar registered two years back. Should I change Bank Account and update some fake/random phone number to Aadhar?

    I can update it to a random phone after “locking” it, i.e. any Aadhar based terminal won’t be able to verify my identity using my fingerprints or iris ultil I unlock it which happens for a 20min window period after unlocking it with the hekp of an OTP(one time password) on registered phone.

    After updating to random number, I won’t get any updates either, i.e. when and where “I” got verified, through SMS on phone.

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