Smartphone companies in India may have a great scope of sales in India, but they do have to face a lot of problems to maintain their position in Indian smartphone market peacefully. Now one such situation has already on its way to the companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung as Indian government plans to implement Aadhaar-based security on phones shipped by these brands in India.
Ajay Bhushan Pandey, the recently appointed CEO of UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) has convened a meeting with executives from the companies mentioned above. The discussion topic was about implementing the national biometric identity program called Aadhaar on phones sold in India.
With Millions of Indian citizens now using fingerprint and iris scan authentication for accessing the variety of private and public services such as Banking. If these companies fail to join the initiative by the Indian government, then it could limit the tech industry’s access to the vast and growing market. It is believed that Apple and Google might resist opening up their phones as well as software systems to the Indian government like this.
These brands would push and shove for this program as believed by Neeraj Aggarwal, Managing Director of Boston Consulting Group in the country. It has always been about providing ecosystems and the battle between companies and government. And companies will do everything in their power to hold on to their own.
Since September 2010, India has been collecting citizen’s biometric and demographic data, then it is further stored in a centralised database. Indian citizens who have been registered with UIDAI has been issued a unique 12 digit ID number including every Man, Woman and Child.
Aadhaar has been considered as a path breaker as the large scale identity program is quite a feat in terms of database standards. According to the report, Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. VISIT visa program use similar technology to track criminals as well as foreign visitors. It is believed that no other country has taken the concept as far as India.
A research director at Gartner, Amresh Nandan, wants clarity and provisions about security. It is highly likely that Tech companies would probably object to allowing the government agency to install it’s authentication tools on their devices. It’s because of fear of security breach. If you recall Sam Bernardino iPhone case where FBI has repeatedly been asking to create a backdoor for them to Apple. It was to gain access to the information about terrorists and criminals.
One of the biggest worry to the likes of Apple and Google would be that they won’t be able to mine their user’s data. As the ability to track users online would be given to the government. Using their own encryption process, the government would be able to implement Aadhaar based accessibility systems to the smartphones being sold in the country.