An Aadhaar card | Photo: Dhiraj Singh | Bloomberg
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New Delhi: India is the fifth worst country after China, Malaysia, Pakistan and the US in terms of extensive and invasive use of biometric data, a report released Wednesday by a UK-based firm has revealed.

Comparitech, a pro-consumer website on technology services, analysed 50 countries on five different aspects such as visas and biometric voting system to “offer a fair country-by-country comparison” of biometric usage.

For the study, the countries were analysed on where biometrics were being taken, what they were being taken for and how they were being stored. The countries were scored out of 25 with a higher number suggesting extensive and invasive use of biometrics.

India shares the fifth position with Indonesia, The Philippines and Taiwan, and scores 19/25.


Also read: Supreme Court seeks Centre’s reply on plea against use of Aadhaar data by private companies


China tops list with 24/25 score

Even though biometric data brings with it a whole host of privacy concerns, the usage of it continues to be widely accepted. The report has found that many countries use visas and biometric checks to collect travellers’ data and some have even begun using facial recognition-enabled CCTVs.

The report also revealed that countries from the European Union scored lower due to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which “standardises data protection law across 28 EU countries and imposes strict new rules on controlling and processing personally identifiable information”.

China, which tops the list, has scored 24/25, followed by Malaysia with 21/25, Pakistan also scored 21/25 and the US scored 20/25. The only reason China didn’t score a 100 per cent, says the report, is because of the absence of a “biometric voting system”.

The five countries with the lowest ranks and so having the least invasive use of biometric data are Ireland (11/25), Portugal (11/25), Cyprus (12/25), the UK (12/25) and Romania (12/25).

India may have performed even worse

India’s national biometric database, Aadhaar, is the largest in the world. According to the report, India may have performed even worse in the area of biometric data privacy if investigating agencies and the police had access to the Aadhaar database.

The Aadhaar card has been a contentious topic because of the privacy and safety concerns it raises.

The report also comes on a day the Personal Data Protection Bill — which will spell out a framework for handling personal and private data by public and private entities, among others — was approved by the government.


Also read: NRC to GST – How Modi & Amit Shah create Anxiety Raj and still win elections


 

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