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The quest for scientific tools to determine ancestry and arbitrate group membership continues apace toward a variety of political and biomedical ends. The scientists’ near uniform criticism of the UK project serves to highlight a key feature of the underlying science – its refusal to adhere to “terms of use” insofar as the UKBA was unwilling to shut down the project completely. Also essential to this discussion is the fact that such technologies of identity do not simply offer more objective means of confirming or disconfirming conventional identity claims; they actually redefine the social categories of identity on which immigration and asylum decisions are based. The HPPP stands as a salutary warning about the ways in which supposedly objective technologies of identification are increasingly being used at international borders to disempower the already vulnerable still further.83

Turning now to India: there the government aims to create a unique 12-digit ID for every resident called an Aadhaar (which means “foundation” in Hindi). An Aadhaar number is tied to individual demographic and biometric markers and is needed when applying for hundreds of welfare programs, as well as for things such as a driver’s license and college degree. The explicit purpose of the ID program is to avoid duplicates in the system and to provide insight into the economy, including the efficacy of aid programs, so as to allow the government and expert organizations to make more informed decisions. But what about those who wish to opt out?

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