Facebook Just Clarified That It Is Not Collecting Data From India’s Controversial National ID Database

Toby Melville / Reuters

Facebook has clarified that it’s not asking new customers in India, the corporate’s largest market exterior the United States with over 200 million customers, for his or her Aadhaar data whereas signing up for a brand new Facebook account.

Aadhaar is India’s controversial biometric ID system that hyperlinks the demographic data of greater than a billion Indians with their fingerprints and iris scans, and shops it in a centralized government-owned database that each authorities businesses and personal corporations can entry to authenticate folks’s identities. The program has been slammed by critics for enabling surveillance and violating privateness.

Facebook revealed a blog post days after customers on Twitter and Reddit seen that the corporate was asking some new customers to enter their names as spelled on their Aadhaar playing cards whereas signing up for brand new Facebook accounts.

Facebook mentioned this was a “small take a look at” that the corporate ran with a small variety of customers in India, and that its purpose was to assist new customers perceive how to enroll to Facebook with their actual names.

“[The test] merely consists of further language on the account sign-up web page to elucidate that utilizing their Aadhaar identify will assist household and mates acknowledge them. We are usually not amassing Aadhaar information and don’t require folks to enter their Aadhaar identify once they signal as much as Facebook,” wrote Taichi Hoshino, a Facebook product supervisor. “This is an optionally available immediate that we had been testing. People weren’t required to enter the identify on their Aadhaar card, and there’s no integration or authentication with Aadhaar.”

Silicon Valley tech corporations have been exploring utilizing Aadhaar with their merchandise in India, a big and more and more essential marketplace for nearly all of them.

As BuzzFeed News exclusively reported, Airbnb, Uber, and Ola, Uber’s Indian rival, are methods to combine Aadhaar with their providers within the nation. Last month, Amazon started asking Indian prospects to add their Aadhaar particulars to trace misplaced packages. And earlier this yr, Microsoft built Aadhaar into Skype Lite, a model of Skype constructed for rising markets, to let folks confirm one another’s identities by way of Skype video calls.

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