Monday, February 20, 2017

Nationwide biometrics to be at the heart of India's move to a cashless society

A few years ago India began a push to accumulate and digitize the biometric information of its 1.3 billion citizens.  And with their 'India Stack' database now ready for distribution, the government is planning on selling access to this information to web developers, healthcare providers, and even the financial system as it becomes a key component of Prime Minister Modi's push towards a cashless society.

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India is leapfrogging into the digital future by offering the world’s largest biometric-identity database for use by tech firms, healthcare providers and novice app developers — an opportunity that excites fans of cyber transactions but worries privacy advocates. 
The Indian government has gathered digital-identification records, including fingerprint impressions and eye scans, of nearly all of its 1.2 billion citizens. 
Now a government-backed initiative known as “India Stack” aims to standardise ways to exchange the data digitally to facilitate the transfer of signatures and official documents that citizens need to get jobs, make financial transactions or access government services. 
The government gave cashless commerce a push late last year by withdrawing large-denomination bank notes from circulation. The temporary measure, aimed in part at tax dodgers, prompted a sharp rise in the use of mobile payment apps. 
India Stack is touted as key to creating a “presence-less, paperless, cashless” society. But the approach is viewed as both innovative and, some say, risky. - The Australian
With India acting as the petri dish for both a cashless monetary system, and a global biometric database of information that corporations, intelligence agencies, and law enforcement can access at any given moment, the results of this experiment may soon become the Big Brother apparatus of global government, and remove the last vestiges of freedom a citizen has.

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