Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wanted to know the progress or status of Indian biometric ID card's development and deployment

240481 12/17/2009 10:52:00 PM 09STATE129198 Secretary of State SECRET//NOFORN 09NEWDELHI1052 VZCZCXYZ1277RR RUEHWEBDE RUEHC #9198 3512254ZNY SSSSS ZZHR 172252Z DEC 09FM SECSTATE WASHDCTO AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 8397 S E C R E T STATE 129198 NOFORN SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/17/2034 TAGS: PINR, PGOV, PREL, PTER, IN

SUBJECT: (S/NF) INDIAN NATIONAL BIOMETRIC ID CARD (C-NC9-02528)

REF: NEW DELHI 001052 (22 MAY 2009)

Classified By: ELISSA G. PITTERLE, DIRECTOR, INR/OPS. REASON: 1.4(C).

1. (S/NF) WASHINGTON ANALYSTS READ WITH KEEN INTEREST RECENT PRESS REPORTS ABOUT A PROPOSED BIOMETRIC NATIONAL ID PROJECT IN INDIA AND REQUEST POST ASSISTANCE IN FILLING INFORMATION GAPS ABOUT THE PROJECT. THE PROJECT HAS BEEN BILLED AT RECENT TRADE CONFERENCES AS THE LARGEST BIOMETRIC ENROLLMENT EVER PROPOSED AND IS THE BIGGEST BIOMETRIC INITIATIVE ANTICIPATED IN 2010. DESPITE PROMISED IMPROVEMENTS THE CARDS WOULD PROVIDE, ANALYSTS ARE CONCERNED THE PROGRAM COULD PRESENT A VULNERABLE TARGET FOR REGIONAL EXTREMIST GROUPS -- SUCH AS LASHKAR E-TAYYIBA -- WHO COULD OBTAIN FRAUDULENT INDIAN ID CARDS DURING THE LARGE-SCALE ENROLLMENT FOR USE IN TRAVEL OR AS BREEDER DOCUMENTS TO APPLY FOR PASSPORTS.

2. (S/NF) ANALYSTS SUBMIT FOR EMBASSY CONSIDERATION THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS THAT BUILD ON THE EXCELLENT ANSWERS PROVIDED EARLIER THIS YEAR IN REFTEL RESPONSE TO JOINT NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER AND S/CT REQUIREMENTS ON IMMIGRATION CONTROL AND WATCHLIST SYSTEMS. NOTING THAT MUCH OF THE TECHNICAL INFRASTRUCTURE OF THE SYSTEM MAY NOT BE DECIDED FOR SOME TIME, WE REMAIN MOST INTERESTED IN THE REASONS MOTIVATING THE PROPOSED PROGRAM, PLANNED SECURITY FEATURES OF THE CARDS AND ENROLLMENT PROCESS, AND ANY ANTI-FRAUD EFFORTS. RESULTS OF THESE REQUIREMENTS WILL BE INCORPORATED INTO A STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT FOR SENIOR US POLICYMAKERS ON THE REGIONAL IMPLICATIONS IN SOUTH ASIA OF THE BIOMETRIC ID PROGRAM. AS TIME AND RESOURCES PERMIT, WE WOULD PARTICULARLY WELCOME POST,S INSIGHT INTO THE FOLLOWING TOPICS AND QUESTIONS:

A) (SBU) PLEASE REPORT ON THE PROGRESS OR STATUS OF THE INDIAN BIOMETRIC ID CARD'S DEVELOPMENT AND DEPLOYMENT, TO THE EXTENT THIS INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE.

B) (SBU) WHAT IS INDIA'S STRATEGIC PLAN FOR UTILIZING BIOMETRIC ID CARD TECHNOLOGY IN THE MILITARY, LAW ENFORCEMENT, AND PRIVATE SECTORS?

C) (SBU) WHICH GOVERNMENT AGENCIES WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERSEEING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NATIONAL ID CARD BIOMETRIC COLLECTION STRATEGY?

D) (SBU) HOW DO AUTHORITIES PLAN TO UTILIZE THE BIOMETRIC ID CARD AT INDIA'S BORDERS, PORTS, AND AIRPORTS?

E) (SBU) WHICH FOREIGN COUNTRIES AND/OR CORPORATIONS ARE ASSISTING IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ID CARD? WHICH BIOMETRIC SYSTEMS (I.E. FINGERPRINTS, FACIAL RECOGNITION, IRIS SCAN, ETC.) WILL BE INCORPORATED INTO THE CARD?

F) (SBU) WHAT PROMPTED DEVELOPMENT OF THE ID CARD?

G) (SBU) WHICH COMPANY IS PROVIDING THE BIOMETRIC COLLECTION DEVICES, STORAGE, AND MATCHING DATABASE EQUIPMENT? PLEASE PROVIDE THE NAME, MODEL, AND VERSION OF THE BIOMETRIC COLLECTION DEVICES USED FOR THE ID CARD, IF AVAILABLE.

H) (SBU) WHICH ORGANIZATIONS/AGENCIES WITHIN INDIA WILL HAVE ACCESS TO INFORMATION GATHERED BY THE BIOMETRIC ID CARD COLLECTION DEVICES?

I) (SBU) WHAT SYSTEMS, DATABASES, OR PORTALS WILL THE NAMED BIOMETRIC ID CARD COLLECTION DEVICES IN INDIA COMMUNICATE WITH?

J) (SBU) WILL THE ID CARD BE ACCEPTED FOR PASSPORT APPLICATIONS?

K) (SBU) WHAT TYPES OF ANTI-FRAUD MEASURES DO INDIAN AUTHORITIES PLAN TO INCORPORATE IN THE ISSUANCE PROCESS?

L) (SBU) WHAT SECURITY FEATURES ARE PLANNED FOR THE ID CARD? WILL THE CARD BE ICAO COMPLIANT AND WILL IT USE ANY ENCRYPTION? PLEASE REPORT ON ANY EFFORTS TO "SPOOF" OR DEFEAT BIOMETRIC ENROLLMENT, SUCH AS FINGERPRINT ALTERATION.

3. (U) PLEASE CITE C-NC9-02528 IN THE SUBJECT LINE OF REPORTING IN RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE QUESTIONS.

CLINTON