New Delhi, August 25: Some secret documents pertaining to the ExpressLane project, a covert operation of the CIA, published by Wikileaks Thursday, may have an Indian connection.
According to some reports, the tools that CIA used in the said snooping project came from the same company that supplies biometric devices for Aadhaar enrolment in India. Cross Match Technologies Inc, which provides biometric identity solutions, had received certification from the UIDAI in 2011, a report claims.
The ExpressLane documents reportedly reveal the cyber operations the CIA conducts against liaison services — which includes,among others, the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
According to an article written by Shelley Kasli published on VoltaireNet.org, ExpressLane is “installed and run with the cover of upgrading the biometric software by OTS (Office of Technical Services) agents that visit the liaison sites”.
The action does not draw suspicion of liaison officers overseeing the procedure, as “the data exfiltration disguises behind a Windows installation splash screen,” the article further says.
Cross Match had been in the news in 2011 when it was reported that the US military had used a product made by the company to identify Osama bin Laden during the Abottabad operation in Pakistan.
It was one of the “first suppliers of biometric devices certified by UIDAI for Aadhaar program” and received the “Certificate of Approval for its Guardian fingerprint capture device and the I SCAN dual iris capture device October 7, 2011”.
Noida-based Smart Identity Devices Private Limited is Cross Match’s Indian partner for the UID programme. As of 2014, Smart ID was involved in UID enrollment in Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, West Bangal, and Madhya Pradesh and has drawn 1.2 million citizens into the Aadhaar programme, according the article.