We have been eagerly following the developments on one of the biggest projects that India Government has undertaken – The Unique Identification Project.
The success of this project will positively affect literally every area of life of an Indian citizen. It will help curb corruption and facilitate GDP growth to a very large extent.
It has been couple of years since this project has been announced and we could see pilot implementation starting as early as next year.
If you are curious about what this number will look like, and how it will function, read on… UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) recently released a White paper on UID Number scheme, and I must say I am quite impressed with what is proposed in this paper.
UIDAI have not only taken a long term view, but also approached the numbering scheme scientifically, while also considering the security factors that are going to be to the success of this project. I am going to try and give you some of the interesting features of how your UID will work.
Every person residing in India will have a Unique Identification Number, even if he is a foreign citizen. Biometric identification system and checks would be used to ensure that each individual is assigned one and only UID and the process of generating a new UID would ensure that duplicates are not issued as valid UID numbers.
Now, coming up with UID scheme is no doubt a challenge given the size of our country and also ensuring that the numbering scheme lasts for many many years (probably few centuries) to come.
From Security perspective, UID has to be such that it is not easily identifiable. For Eg: The Social Security number of a person in U.S can be identified (with little expertise) based on their birth-date and from the location at which it was issued. Whereas in case of UID, it is going to be a random number which will be virtually impossible for a person to identify. The UID approach is designed on an on-line system, where data is stored centrally and authentication is done online.
UID number to an individual will be issued to an individual by capturing and storing some of these biometric markers that will uniquely identify residents and hence assign unique numbers to them and authenticate them accurately.
The UID number will comprise of 12 digits (11 + 1 check sum). These 11 digits allow upto 100 billion number space which can last us for centuries.
Here is look at how a 12 digit UID may look
To know more about the format of this 12 digit UID scheme, you can read this PDF released by UIDAI Authority.