Scanning 2.4 Billion Eyes, India Tries to Connect Poor to Growth

India is attempting to improve the living standards of the poor by creating “the world’s largest biometric database“. Eventually to allocate a collection of 1.2 billion identities, the system attempts to catalogue Indian citizens to connect them to the country’s growth by reducing the inequality of India’s economic rise. For many people in India, the 12 digit identification number they receive from this system will be the first proof that they exist. They can use this number to identify themselves anywhere in the country, even to receive welfare benefits, open a bank account, or get a mobile phone (even in a remote village). By first identifying Indian citizens, the program facilitates the growth of the poor by allowing them to access resources -ICTs- which will help close the digital divide.

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3 responses to “Scanning 2.4 Billion Eyes, India Tries to Connect Poor to Growth

  • stinamurph

    I saw this article in my email edition of the New York Times the other morning and instantly thought of IDEV 4100. It is always exciting to see class concepts put into use, especially as innovative a concept as eye scans for identification. This is also a very emotional invention – it is hard to imagine waiting so long to get any sort of official identification to prove that I exist, that I am a person of the United States. Additionally, it will hopefully serve to break down the social systems of India and bring a greater sense of individual worth as opposed to group (caste, religion, etc.) worth.

    This innovation not only gives a voice to the unknown but it seems quite promising for benefits like healthcare and bank use. This will surely bring a great amount of calm and organization to sprawling, advancing India.

    This technology could be used in so many regions and for many purposes. I imagine that it will be especially useful in recent disaster areas to help organize victims.

    Susannah Schneider

  • stinamurph

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/07/20117258145965608.html

    here is a similar issue but in the US. It seems like this will be actually be started in the US despite the privacy issues we were talking about today in class

    Sarah Levine

  • stinamurph

    I think this is a great idea for India. With such a growing population, it seems necessary to develop some sort of organized documentation of the citizens. I am almost sure that this would never be passed in the USA, due to fear of losing freedom, however I personally think it is safer than having all your information on a piece of paper in your wallet.

    Julian Guelig

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