uid

When I opposed Aadhaar in 2010 , I was called a BJP stooge. In 2016 I am still opposing Aadhaar for the same reasons and I am told I am a Congress die hard. No one wants to see why I oppose Aadhaar as it is too difficult. Plus Aadhaar is FREE so why not get one ? Ram Krishnaswamy

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -Mahatma Gandhi

In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place. Mahatma Gandhi

“The invasion of privacy is of no consequence because privacy is not a fundamental right and has no meaning under Article 21. The right to privacy is not a guaranteed under the constitution, because privacy is not a fundamental right.” Article 21 of the Indian constitution refers to the right to life and liberty -Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi

“There is merit in the complaints. You are unwittingly allowing snooping, harassment and commercial exploitation. The information about an individual obtained by the UIDAI while issuing an Aadhaar card shall not be used for any other purpose, save as above, except as may be directed by a court for the purpose of criminal investigation.” -A three judge bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar said in an interim order.

Legal scholar Usha Ramanathan describes UID as an inverse of sunshine laws like the Right to Information. While the RTI makes the state transparent to the citizen, the UID does the inverse: it makes the citizen transparent to the state, she says.

Good idea gone bad
I have written earlier that UID/Aadhaar was a poorly designed, unreliable and expensive solution to the really good idea of providing national identification for over a billion Indians. My petition contends that UID in its current form violates the right to privacy of a citizen, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. This is because sensitive biometric and demographic information of citizens are with enrolment agencies, registrars and sub-registrars who have no legal liability for any misuse of this data. This petition has opened up the larger discussion on privacy rights for Indians. The current Article 21 interpretation by the Supreme Court was done decades ago, before the advent of internet and today’s technology and all the new privacy challenges that have arisen as a consequence.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP Rajya Sabha

“What is Aadhaar? There is enormous confusion. That Aadhaar will identify people who are entitled for subsidy. No. Aadhaar doesn’t determine who is eligible and who isn’t,” Jairam Ramesh

But Aadhaar has been mythologised during the previous government by its creators into some technology super force that will transform governance in a miraculous manner. I even read an article recently that compared Aadhaar to some revolution and quoted a 1930s historian, Will Durant. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Rajya Sabha MP

“I know you will say that it is not mandatory. But, it is compulsorily mandatorily voluntary,” Jairam Ramesh, Rajya Saba April 2017


Special

Here is what the Parliament Standing Committee on Finance, which examined the draft N I A Bill said.

1. There is no feasibility study of the project]

2. The project was approved in haste

3. The system has far-reaching consequences for national security

4. The project is directionless with no clarity of purpose

5. It is built on unreliable and untested technology

6. The exercise becomes futile in case the project does not continue beyond the present number of 200 million enrolments

7. There is lack of coordination and difference of views between various departments and ministries of government on the project

Quotes

What was said before the elections:

NPR & UID aiding Aliens – Narendra Modi

"I don't agree to Nandan Nilekeni and his madcap (UID) scheme which he is trying to promote," Senior BJP Leader Yashwant Sinha, Sept 2012

"All we have to show for the hundreds of thousands of crore spent on Aadhar is a Congress ticket for Nilekani" Yashwant Sinha.(27/02/2014)

TV Mohandas Pai, former chief financial officer and head of human resources, tweeted: "selling his soul for power; made his money in the company wedded to meritocracy." Money Life Article

Nilekani’s reporting structure is unprecedented in history; he reports directly to the Prime Minister, thus bypassing all checks and balances in government - Home Minister Chidambaram

To refer to Aadhaar as an anti corruption tool despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary is mystifying. That it is now officially a Rs.50,000 Crores solution searching for an explanation is also without any doubt. -- Statement by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP & Member, Standing Committee on Finance

Finance minister P Chidambaram’s statement, in an exit interview to this newspaper, that Aadhaar needs to be re-thought completely is probably the last nail in its coffin. :-) Financial Express

The Rural Development Ministry headed by Jairam Ramesh created a road Block and refused to make Aadhaar mandatory for making wage payment to people enrolled under the world’s largest social security scheme NRGA unless all residents are covered.


Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

8778 - Total digitisation is the answer to privacy woes - Governance Now


A transformation, driven by cloudification and automation, of all Aadhaar enrollment, data storage and access processes is a key need today
Deepak Kumar | September 29, 2015

- See more at: http://www.governancenow.com/views/columns/tal-digitisation-the-answer-privacy-woes#sthash.Iap5xXwJ.dpuf

(Illustration: Ashish Asthana)

In this digital and social media age, the din about privacy is seemingly a big paradox. How come a generation that is so comfortable sharing the minutest details about their whereabouts, families and friends, and so candid about voicing their political, social and ideological views on open platforms like Facebook and Twitter, be bothered about a potential risk to privacy in a secure network like Aadhaar?

As attorney general Mukul Rohatgi has argued before a supreme court bench, “privacy” has been a vague concept and an earlier judgment had held it was not a “guaranteed right” under the constitution. As such, citing privacy concerns can indeed not be a basis to petition against the implementation of the Aadhaar scheme.

However, there also lies a counter argument: how come a vague concept be used as a basis to implement a scheme that potentially infringes upon privacy of citizens?

The debate around privacy, due to the vagueness surrounding it, can be a double-edged sword, which could be used to further either sets of arguments.

Why not do away with the vagueness?

Logically, defining the boundaries by which a government agency must adhere to when using the Aadhaar linked information of individuals should help settle the debate. For example, while it is certainly important to mandate use of Aadhaar numbers (at most in a phased manner), it is equally important that not every recorded activity be discretely passed on to various departments.

As a broad analogy, think of the call data records (CDRs) in the telecom billing systems. CDR information is shared with the government law enforcement agencies only in instances when a person is wanted or suspected in an illegal or anti-national activity, as an example. All Aadhaar-linked data should also be provisioned to lie dormant as long as the activities of individuals follow a normal pattern. Only when an aberration or breach is officially reported by a concerned agency should the information be shared.

In fact, by making use of sophisticated analytics, it would be very much possible to even define the aberrations in Aadhaar-linked activities of individuals that should raise a trigger, which in turn could draw the attention of a concerned official for any follow-up action. The analytics engine could continually be refined by being fed with new definitions of aberrations and trigger points as and when those are discovered.

Transparency is the key

The processes defining the trigger points should be well documented and made available for audit, say, to an independent panel of experts comprising a mix of technology, legal and constitutional experts, among other relevant members, if any.

Of course, individuals with criminal or terrorist records could be included in a threat list at the very outset, so as to ensure that their movements are duly captured and monitored in a more discrete manner. At the same time, the list may also be shared with the panel to ensure that no innocent citizen, whether by design or by error, gets labelled as a criminal in the records.

Also, it is important to ensure that certain types of data, like the health records, should constitute a privacy core with very stringent access parameters, and should be shared with other agencies only in the rarest of rare circumstances.

Implementation challenges

The biggest challenge, perhaps, would lie in the fact that different government departments and processes are at varying stages of digitisation, something that would make a uniform implementation of Aadhaar analytics difficult to begin with.

Moreover, defining the aberrations, triggers and exceptions in a vast set of Aadhaar-linked data can be a complex and time consuming process, and as such could be potentially frustrating for the implementing agencies.

Moreover, unlike PAN cards, which due to a linkage with income taxes tend to cover only a part of the population, Aadhaar cards are aimed at the entire population universe and hence also pose greater challenges of scale. Also, the bottom-of-pyramid socioeconomic segments would need to be incentivised to become part of the Aadhaar fold. This, in turn, poses its own set of challenges.

These, and other, challenges are reflected in the fact that the target of achieving 100 crore Aadhaar enrolments by June 2015 has turned out to be elusive.

App-ification of Aadhaar registration

It may be a good idea to leverage an already large — and growing — base of smartphone wielding mobile service subscribers in the country. One conceptually simple way would be to make it possible for people to register using an Aadhaar app. Further, if these mobile subscribers are also provisioned to do Aadhaar registrations for their family members using the same app, maybe subject to a physical verification to be carried out later, the whole process may be greatly speeded up. (Of course, other existing Aadhaar registration systems may continue to work in parallel).

Since mobile subscribers have already been verified through know your customer (KYC) processes in the past, the mobile numbers could actually serve as the first points of authentication. Also, it is not hard to conceive telcos as potential partners in this whole Aadhaar registration process. Their newfound capabilities in video-based solutions could be particularly helpful.

Leverage cloud to better privacy?

Counterintuitive though it may sound, cloudification of the registration process as well as access to all Aadhaar data could actually help address a large body of privacy-related concerns.

As of now, various private-sector implementation agencies have been contracted to speed up the Aadhaar registration process, which makes the data being captured vulnerable to unauthorised access. Moreover, there is a lot of manual intervention in the data capturing process and the data is also often stored locally, which further increases the risks of privacy breaches. For example, data such as fingerprint and iris scan are highly sensitive and any misuse of that could pose serious threats to the concerned individuals.

By digitising the entire enrolment process and making all data storage and access cloud based, it is quite possible to insulate personal data in a way that it is not subject to any manual intervention, even if the existing agencies and enrolment centres continue to serve as facilitators.

However, a valid concern remains that all citizen data that has hitherto been captured lies exposed. While destroying all localised records could mitigate the risks to a large extent, other safeguards would also need to be taken. This can be taken up as a separate activity by the concerned authorities. 
- See more at: http://www.governancenow.com/views/columns/tal-digitisation-the-answer-privacy-woes#sthash.Iap5xXwJ.dpuf