News that a company partly funded by the CIA will be capturing and analyzing data on nearly a billion Indians for the Unique Identification Number card has come as a shock to many in the world’s largest democracy.
Called Aadhar, the documentation is much like the U.S. social security card and is being launched by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), except it is not compulsory to possess one.
MongoDB, a New York-based startup has been hired by UIDA for data collection in India. Though the actual contract is yet to be announced, the information is unlikely to sit well with the local people.
What is Aadhaar?
The Indian website My Aadhaar Card explains that the card will be allocated based on the demographic and biometric information of an individual, granting the possessor universal identification and eliminating the threat of bogus activity.
The purpose of the card will be to allow the holder to use its number for opening a bank account, booking tickets online, applying for a passport, and many other areas where proof of identity is needed.
CIA funding MongoDB?
MongoDB has raised $231 million since its inception and some of its funding is from In-Q-Tel, the not-for-profit venture capital arm of the CIA. The information is no secret and is readily available on its website.
The fund's stated mission is to identify, adapt and deliver innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the CIA and the broader US intelligence community.
How does the CIA funding effect the Aadhaar cards?
The funding may have no effect on the firm’s task of assisting with the Aadhaar cards and there is no evidence that it is either controlled or influenced by the CIA. Regardless, the organization has its links to the U.S. intelligence agency, which is not trusted by many.
Hardly surprising as the world has been exposed the extent of U.S. eavesdropping on its own citizens and the rest of the world after Edward Snowden’s startling revelations over the last few months.