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Yahoo joins the identity war

Updated on: 12 November,2009 07:21 AM IST  | 
Mid Day Correspondent |

IT giant says it is interested in helping government with Unique Identification Number project headed by Nilekani

Yahoo joins the identity war

IT giant says it is interested in helping government with Unique Identification Number project headed by Nilekani

The Unique Identification Number (UID) project seems to be attracting many suitors.

Earlier, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates had expressed his interest in working for theu00a0 project during his recent visit to India. Yahoo officials revealed they too were keen to be part of the country's most ambitious project.

Yahoo's Worldwide Chief Executive Officer Carol Bartz met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and expressed his interest on Wednesday.

According to a senior Yahoo official, Bartz also met Nandan Nilekani, who is heading the project. Sources say Yahoo is eyeing the UID project as an opportunity to expand its hold in the Indian market.

However, the US-headquartered company said it was not looking at making commercial gains from the project.

"There is no commercial interest involved in offering Yahoo's services for the UID project. We have been in India for many years. It is time to pay back to the nation," said Yahoo India (R&D) VP and CEO Shovick Mukherjee.

The Unique Identity number will be supported by biometric authentication which means that fingerprints and photographs of more than a billion people will be collected when they register for the project. In fact, the online information will be the biggest such national database in the world. The data will be saved online and help in instant authentication of the identity of every Indian.

Claiming that three out of four people in India who access the Internet do it through Yahoo, Bartz said, "The UID project involves a huge database. At Yahoo, we have expertise in handling such large amount of data. We met the PM and discussed, among other things, how Yahoo can help the government in the project."

The 15-digit Unique Identification Number (UID) project is being led by Nandan Nilekani, the former co-chairman of Infosys. He is heading the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

As per the project, the government plans to allot a unique identification number to every Indian citizen.

The main aim of UID is to avert the need for multiple proof of identity for citizens while availing any government service, or for private needs like opening bank accounts or seeking telephone connections.

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