Taking my fingerprints and iris scans by force

Do my fingerprints belong to me? If so, what if I don’t want to give them to the government? Nandan Nilekani’s UID number is going to be clubbed with the national census which will try and collect biometric data from Indian citizens.

But what if I don’t want to get my iris scanned? Are they going to hold my head down and do it? Will I be put in jail for trying to keep my fingerprints to myself? Suppose tomorrow the government decides to take blood samples of everyone instead. Will my country force a syringe into me against my will?

Forced to give an iris scan?

Forced to give an iris scan?

These are important questions because let me state this clearly – I have no intention of willingly handing over any of my biometric data. My fingers and eyes are my own and no one has the right have records about them in a database. Not until I have a full understanding of what is going to happen with that data.

The world is watching. Following on the heels of Australians asking about the UID, a reporter from Agence France Presse (AFP) –  the oldest news agency in the world contacted me to find out more. I referred her to my friend in Delhi since I can’t go there myself. Other countries have tried this and failed due to privacy concerns, and we’re just sleepwalking into it!

The state doesn’t need to know everything, and the price of systematic abuse is too high. What can I do to stop this tide? The only thing I can do is to refuse to hand over my biometrics. And what will the government do then?

What about you? What will you do when they come for your fingerprints?

[poll id=”16″]

What do you think of this post?
  • Agree (2)
  • Don't Agree but Interesting (0)
  • You're an asshole (0)


  1. Bhagwad, I agree that there is a privacy problem here although I don't really care about my privacy…What I do care about is the misuse of the information gathered by the government by a third party…

    I have a question for you: You are against giving your biometric information to the Indian government, your government, but you had no problem giving it to the American government when you entered the country…Why this discrepancy?


    • In reply to Sraboney

      There's isn't really a discrepancy. I had a choice in one matter and don't seem to have one in the other. I needn't go to America if I had such big issues with the fingerprinting.

      But when my own government tells me I can't use essential services without giving up my biometrics, then my privacy is taken out of my hands, and that's what I find offensive…

      Of course, I'm also terrified of misuse and I don't trust the government in that scenario either. Technology has given them a powerful tool and I don't trust them to use it maturely.


  2. I can't make up my mind about this Bhagwad, though I agree with you about the privacy bit…

    I also feel those who do not wish to give their finger prints won't and then it won't serve any purpose anyway.
    I have often wondered why every little Police Thana, even in the remotest corners of India (more in the remotest corners) does not have access to data where the Police keeps a detailed record of every criminal ever, finger prints included. Whenever we have wanted to verify the background of anyone we wish to employ, it seems they only can tell us if there are any local records against the person, if someone has committed a crime in Bengal – they can easily be employed in Rajasthan.
    But again even this does not require them to maintain records of those who have never been involved in any crimes :(


    • In reply to Indian Homemaker

      IHM, I feel that's the nub of the issue. As Sraboney mentioned above, when I visited the US, I had to give my fingerprints because it's their country and they're naturally suspicious of me.

      But when my own government treats me as a suspect "just in case" then I have a big problem.


  3. Bhagwad i am against this, happy to see others like me. I am surprised there has been no opposition to this move. There hasn't been much media coverage too. This is a very fascist move by the government of India. I will not cooperate with the government. It violates my fundamental right to privacy.


  4. I cannot think of any possible legitimate reason that "OUR" govt needs something like this for governance. It will be abused and abused to hell and back, because it is India. Isn't there any legal recourse or things like that would allow this madness to be stopped, afaik the british stopped some kind of this stuff pertaining to kids. It cost billions(and that is in pounds) was ultimately ineffective and was shelved only a couple of years into operations


  5. The government's just drafted a law pertaining to the storage of this data. I'm still worried, but on the face of it the penalties are pretty high going up to one crore.

    That still doesn't mean I'm happy giving up my finger prints and iris scans though…