Thursday Sep 08, 2022

India: Exclusion by design (ep. 5)

India’s ID system Aadhaar made huge progress by enrolling more than a billion people in just a few years. But at what cost?

Civil society leader and documentary-maker Subhashish Panigrahi speaks to us about his film “Marginalized Aadhaar” and we discuss the cultural, political and technical issues which led to multiple layers of exclusion by the system, particularly for India’s poor.

Privilege, caste, propaganda and education are all key considerations. Being able to advocate for oneself is all too often only for the wealthy.

Panigrahi talks about exclusion via language and disability by a system tested on the privileged. India still does not have adequate data protections for its citizens personal information, but there are opportunities for the private sector, including the likes of Google and Meta.

Clips from “Marginalized Aadhaar” by Subhashish Panigrahi licensed under Creative Commons BY 3.0.

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Find out more about the ID16.9 Podcast and the importance of legal identity at

Produced and hosted by Frank Hersey at Biometric Update

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