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118. Building Aadhaar, The World’s Largest Biometric Database

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We start the show looking back at a Wired cover story from 1997 predicting the next 25 years would be The Long Boom. But oops! Turns out all the bad future spoilers came true instead. We dive deep into Aadhaar, the Indian government’s massive biometric identity database that has enrolled the information of more than a billion people. We talk about the technological architecture of the system and how it operates as an identity-as-a-service platform for public and private services. This is part 1 of a much broader discussion laying the foundations for analysing Aadhaar. Part two, looking at the social issues and political implications of Aadhaar, will be released on the TMK Patreon feed.

Some stuff we discuss:
••• The Long Boom | Wired (1997) https://archive.org/details/eu_Wired-1997-07_OCR/page/n123/mode/2up
••• All Those 23andMe Spit Tests Were Part of a Bigger Plan | Bloomberg https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-11-04/23andme-to-use-dna-tests-to-make-cancer-drugs
••• Give Me a Database and I Will Raise the Nation-State | Ranjit Singh https://secureservercdn.net/166.62.108.22/163.112.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Give_Me_a_Database_RS.pdf
••• Seeing Like an Infrastructure: Low-resolution Citizens and the Aadhaar Identification Project | Ranjit Singh and Steven Jackson https://secureservercdn.net/166.62.108.22/163.112.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/SLAI_RSSJ.pdf
••• A New AI Lexicon: Resolution | Ranjit Singh https://medium.com/a-new-ai-lexicon/a-new-ai-lexicon-resolution-8f3430654ee4

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Hosted by Jathan Sadowski (twitter.com/jathansadowski) and Edward Ongweso Jr. (twitter.com/bigblackjacobin). Production / Music by Jereme Brown (twitter.com/braunestahl)