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.


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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

8928 - Mobile as the digital identity for India - Economic Times

GSMA, Technical Director


13 Oct 2015

Without giving it much thought – we have increasingly started to live double lives. There is our physical, everyday “organic” life and then there is our “digital” life. Slowly or maybe not that slowly, the boundary between the two has started to become more and more blurred. This brings on a very exciting new world and at the same time some interesting challenges, the most important and interesting one is about the “identity” and everything around it, including “proving” the identity. Questions like “How do I know you are who you say you are?” no longer becomes absurd and starts to be in the mainstream.
Source: Peter Steiner's cartoon, as published in The New Yorker

In the physical “organic” life, we consciously or subconsciously use psychological mechanisms to “create a proof in our mind” that the “identity” is correct, based on personal story, contextual experiences referred as the “past personal narrative”. So we know the person is Sunil, based on our past experience with the individual, our personal memory of the associated facial recognition, voice, behavior and so on. The “proving” of the identity is “authentication”. In the “digital” life – it’s not based on “past personal narrative”, but with the little box that asks us to “prove” we “know something” …………


Looks familiar, right ? This little text box has survived over 5 decades!! Passwords were first used in 1961 in MIT, in a time sharing system CTSS (Compatible Time Sharing System). The purpose of the “Password” was to test “Is it really you?” and surprisingly, it is still used for the same purpose, even after more than 5 decades. This is absolutely amazing, as we hear regular stories about the high profile security breaches involving passwords, still that little text box has survived so long !! As per the Verizon’s 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report, 2 out of every 3 data breaches involve passwords. The problem has been amplified with the massive proportion of our lives involved in the “digital” world. A survey published by Password Boss in July 2015 suggests that 59% percent of users reuse their passwords and the reason being “its too hard to remember them”. This is not surprising, as this is basic human psychology – we normal humans generally can only remember limited number of different combinations.

Here is an interesting report from Splashdata, published in January 2015, which lists the most popular passwords for 2014.


What does that mean – the compromise of the passwords at the weakest link in our “digital” life impacts the strongest and most secure sites as well, as we start to reuse our passwords between the sites [If my banking site password is reused at my grocery store site, then a compromise at the grocery store site impacts directly the banking site – as I am reusing the password at these sites].


The GSMA Consumer Research 2015 found out that 68% of consumers say that forgetting passwords is a significant problem, which then leads to reusing. Given a choice between security and convenience – users tend to lean towards convenience in this case, and balancing the two is critical for our “digital” lives. This is extremely important for India, as there are 350 million Internet users in India, which is growing at a staggering rate and predicted to reach 503 million by 2017.
So where is the problem? The problem is much more fundamental and not just about security implementation, as otherwise the “password” would not have survived that long.
The problem is not about “security” – it’s about the “identity”. We almost forget that there is a service that we use several times a day, a service that is omnipresent, a service that we almost cannot live without and something that is always with us – and still, we do not need to use password to prove our identity – it’s the Mobile Phone. That does not mean that its not secure – on the contrary its extremely secure, hardened by the Mobile Network Security mechanisms, business processes and fraud prevention mechanisms. Mobile Services are an excellent example of balancing “convenience” and “security”. 

The question then comes to mind – “Hey, why don’t we use this to solve the Password problem?” That’s exactly what “Mobile Connect” is, a global mobile industry solution that provides “conveniently secure and a private” way to replace passwords, utilising the mobile device and the mobile network assets. For India, it is even more critical, as 50% of the Internet users in India use it only from mobile.

So, what exactly is Mobile Connect? Mobile Connect is a simple, secure and convenient authentication mechanism in our “digital” lives, which uses the mobile device as the “authentication device”. It uses the inherent security associated with the possession of the mobile device, which proves “Something I Have” along with adding additional security with “Personal PIN” to prove “Something I Know”.



Here is a journey of Sunil in his “digital” life - Sunil wants to access his online banking site, he needs to prove his digital identity, i.e. he needs to be authenticated. The banking site offers Sunil to use Mobile Connect for authentication. Sunil clicks on the Mobile Connect button, he is been asked to enter his mobile phone number. He gets a prompt at his mobile device to enter his “Personal PIN”. He is authenticated and starts to use his online banking service – No passwords to use. The same “Personal PIN” is used by Sunil when he needs to buy a gift from the online shop, again no passwords to use.



The Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Government of India has published the “Guidelines on Mobile as Digital Identity” in July 2015, which suggests the same. It even suggests the linkage of the Aadhaar numbers with Mobile ID.
Linking the Mobile Connect account of the user with the Aadhaar creates a “Conveniently Secure” link between the user and the Aadhaar number, using the Mobile Device, so that Authenticating using Mobile Connect links the user’s Aadhaar number, without the user needing to remember or proving that the user has the possession of the Aadhaar number.
This opens up massive opportunities for India, lowering the barriers for proving identities in our “Digital” lives in a convenient and secure way, so that we can all live a “Happy Digital Life” in India.




DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETTelecom.com do not necessarily subscribe to it. ETTelecom.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.

Gautam Hazari is the technical Director for the Personal Data program at GSMA. He works with the mobile operators around the world on mobile identity and also with the extended industry on the identity ecosystem.