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Serious concerns over Aadhaar data collection: Ex-US State Department official

IANS  |  Vancouver 

There are serious concerns about the collection of biometric data for cards in and these must be allayed, a former State Department who is considered an expert on and cyber-crime issues has stressed.

"I don't want to meddle in India's But there are concerns (about collection of personal details for card)," told IANS on the sidelines of the third annual BCTECH Summit here.

Cohen is currently the and Founder of Jigsaw, a arm started to tackle threats to

He conceded there are arguments on the merits of the system but there are also concerns that must be addressed.

Cohen did not want to comment on the case before the Supreme Court, whose constitution bench has reserved judgement in the PIL which wants removal of the mandatory requirement of Aadhaar for enjoying benefits of services and for opening of and buying telephone services, among others.

The petitioners have also expressed concerns over the personal details of crores of card holders being accessed by unauthorised parties.

When asked what he expected from the judgement, Cohen repeated: "I don't want to meddle in India's "

Cohen was of policy planning staff of US He played a role in helping shape counter-radicalisation strategies and advised on US policy towards and the

Beginning in April 2009, Cohen aided delegations focused on connecting executives with local stakeholders in Iraq, Russia, Mexico, Congo, and He had also worked with another US Secretary of State,

In the midst of the June 2009 protests in Iran, Cohen sought to support the opposition in He contacted Twitter, requesting that the company not perform planned maintenance that would have temporarily shut down service in Iran, because the protestors were using to maintain contact with the outside world.

According to from The New Yorker, "The move violated Obama's rule of non-interference and officials were furious." In an interview with Clinton, she "did not betray any disagreement with the over policy," but "cited Cohen's move with pride."

While serving on the policy planning staff, Cohen became an advisor to Richard Holbrooke, who was the first for and He took several trips with Holbrooke to Afghanistan, where he helped develop some of the

Cohen, 36, was among the early adopters of in the US In April 2010, he had the third largest number of followers in the US government, behind and Senator

Earlier, speaking at the plenary session of the summit which began on Tuesday, Cohen said it was difficult to produce solution for more than 10 years with any certitude.

But what he observed was that change and innovation happens earlier and faster than expected. "We are constantly surprised at what innovation can do," he told the gathering.

Participating in a session titled "The New Digital Age Transforming Businesses", he said data was the most valuable man-made resources but cyber crimes were growing.

Cohen described fake news as one of the many disinformation campaign to influence people accompanied by cyber-bullying and patriotic trolling with funding.

There are 194 countries actually attacking each other on a daily basis which includes corporate espionage. "Information security breaches happen in real time before you can realise. This is something states have to recognise and tackle. It is the challenge on the horizon."

Speaking at the opening session, Anthony Salacito, Vice President, at Microsoft, said that teachers do not have to rethink about their role because of evolving

"Actually, it is the reverse. It is the recongition that is the engine of development and learning has changed. The students' generation today is called digital and the workplace has changed," he noted.

Salacito said (AI) can play a role in every field.

"AI begins with data collection, display, prediction of outcomes and then drive outcomes. How AI can drive human ingenuity potential and amplify it is the current trend," he added.

He referred to "Project Sangam" introduced in and under which, students are initiated into why they learn and what they learn so that it just does not limit to getting them a job but building on skills to higher achievement.

Salacito also talked about how has developed learning tools that help dyslexic children read, a big empowerment of them.

BC TECH is an annual event that enables the wide talent in technology companies across the world come together and exchange ideas and enter into mutual tie ups.

Over 270 companies including giants like Microsoft, and representing $200 billion in value are attending the event. province in is home to scores of start-ups as well as giants in technology.

The three-day summit has been organised by and the (BCIC).

(VS Chandrasekar is in on an invitation from He can be reached at



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 16 2018. 12:12 IST