India makes biometrics compulsory in e-govt programmes

The Indian government has released new e-govt guidelines that make biometrics a compulsory authentication factor. The staff guidelines come under a “National e-Governance Plan” that aims to make all government services available electronically. The guidelines state that biometric authentication is now mandatory, with fingerprints, faces and irises all acceptable. “The Indian Government encourages use of biometric data for identification and verification of individuals in e-Governance applications” states the docs, adding, that this is targeted at “all E-Governance projects of the Central and State Government or any other organization which needs to comply with this standard.” In March, efforts by private telecom operators to use biometric data collected under India’s Aadhaar programme for authenticating customer identity while issuing SIM cards faced a legal challenge. A public interest litigation was filed before the High Court of Kerala against allowing the biometric data collection by private citizen, Shyam KJ. However, in the same month, the World Bank said India’s biometrics-backed unique identity system could be used by other countries as a model for their identity plans.