Biometric Surveillance in India

Date & Time April 29, 2022 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Zoom (@tuftssarc for Zoom info)
South Asian Regional Committee

Beginning in 2010, the Indian government created the biggest biometric ID system in the world, enabling them to collect the fingerprints, photos, and iris scans of more than 1.2 billion people. This system, called Aadhar, has helped distribute welfare, organize the process to join the civil services, streamline voter rolls and allow people to move between states without losing benefits. At the same time, however, this grants the government a substantial amount of personal data, and technical glitches have devastating consequences. Join SARC on Friday, April 29 at 12pm to understand Aadhar and biometric surveillance in India, assessing the benefits and risks of this system with our panelist Dr. Ursula Rao. Dr. Rao is Director of the Department 'Anthropology of Politics and Governance' at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle (Saale), Germany. Her research explores questions of politics and governance in India, with a specific focus on urban dynamics. Currently, she is involved in several research projects about the social consequences of biometric technology and e-governance. How do the new tools and techniques of governing impact human relations and state-citizens interactions? Other fields of interests include question of urban citizenship and social justice, as well as journalistic practices, ritual theory and urban Hinduism. Before joining the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Ursula Rao was Professor of Anthropology at the University of Leipzig and held academic positions at the University of Heidelberg (1999-2002), the University of Halle (2002-2006) and the University of New South Wales, Sydney (2007-2012). Check out SARC’s Instagram @tuftssarc for more info.