Was ECI’s 2015 drive to delete duplicate voter entries flawed?

A more serious concern revealed was that, the Aadhaar details used to identify the duplicate entries were accessed without the permission of the general public.

Published: 10th November 2018 08:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th November 2018 08:38 AM   |  A+A-

Election Commission

Election Commission of India (File | PTI)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: In 2015, at least 22 lakh names were eliminated from the voters’ list on the pretext of deleting any duplicate entries. Reports have surfaced ahead of the 2018 Assembly polls that the method carried out in this elimination process had a lot of algorithmic glitches.

A more serious concern revealed was that the Aadhaar details used to identify the duplicate entries were accessed without the permission of the general public. In 2015, the Election Commission of India (ECI) linked Aadhaar to EPIC data in order to use Aadhaar-based software to delete duplicate entries in the country’s voter rolls. Though the drive National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme, was stopped shortly after, a pilot project taken up in the Telugu states saw at least 22 lakh voters eliminated from the state’s electoral rolls, as indicated by the chief election officer Rajat Kumar in a press conference earlier.

The ECI had used a software that seeded voter IDs with Aadhaar numbers in huge numbers using a tool provided by the UIDAI, the authority responsible for Aadhaar details. Srinivas Kodali, an independent security researcher said, “The problem is that the voters’ consent was not taken before accessing their Aadhaar details. It was earlier said that Aadhaar details cannot be used by other departments.”Also, the algorithms used to match Aadhaar data with electoral rolls had flaws. A person named A Raju can be matched as Alok Raju in the Aadhaar.

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