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.

August 24, 2017: The nine-judge Constitution Bench rules that right to privacy is “intrinsic to life and liberty” and is inherently protected under the various fundamental freedoms enshrined under Part III of the Indian Constitution

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the World; indeed it's the only thing that ever has"

“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.” - Edward Snowden

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.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

8986 - Apple, Google and Twitter among 22 tech companies opposing Cisa bill - The Guardian


Many of the world’s top technology companies are against cybersecurity plans before US Senate on privacy grounds, according to a new poll

Senator Ron Wyden has been scathing in his distaste for the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act currently before the US Senate. Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images
Sam Thielman in New York

Wednesday 21 October 201522.37 BS

Twenty-two of the world’s top technology companies are firmly against the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (Cisa) now on the floor of the Senate, according to a new poll by internet activists Fight for the Future.

The poll lists Apple, Google, Twitter and Wikipedia as opposing the legislation while Comcast, HP, Cisco and Verizon are among the 12 companies who back or have remained silent on the bill. Cisa is aimed at tightening online security but has been criticised as infringing on civil liberties and privacy.

The bill could come up for a preliminary vote as early as Wednesday. Within the Senate itself, Cisa has both bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition. US Democratic senator Ron Wyden of Oregon was succinct in his distaste for the legislation before the body on Tuesday afternoon, addressing his comments to President Barack Obama: “I heard for days that this bill would have prevented the OPM [Office of Personnel Management] attack,” Wyden said. “After technologists reviewed that particular argument, that claim has essentially been withdrawn.

“There is a saying now in the cybersecurity field, Mr President: if you can’t protect it, don’t collect it. If more personal consumer information flows to the government without strong protections, my view is that’s going to be a prime target for hackers.”

Even the Department of Homeland Security, designated the entry point for all the information from the bill, has come out strongly against it, saying that it “could sweep away important privacy protections”.

Few companies that support the bill have issued public statements in favor of its current version, though many lobbied on an earlier version of the bill. Some of those companies, notably Apple, Facebook and Google, now oppose it.

Apple in particular came out swinging against the bill on Tuesday evening, issuing a statement saying that it did not support “the current Cisaproposal,” to the Washington Post. “The trust of our customers means everything to us and we don’t believe security should come at the expense of their privacy.”

With respect to the apparent policy reversals of companies that have supported the bill in the past, Fight for the Future campaign director Evan Greer said she thought private industry had simply read the writing on the wall.

“I think these companies recognize that this is a supremely unpopular piece of legislation among their users,” she said. 

“Internet users have been opposing this kind of legislation for years; I think the Senate should consider that the same users that led revolts against these companies are also voters.”

Tech giants warn cybersecurity bill could undermine users' privacy

The bill would allow private industry to share user information with the Department of Homeland Security, which would be compelled to share it across “relevant government agencies”, presumably including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Security Agency (NSA). The bill has been touted by its supporters, notably the US Chamber of Commerce, as entirely voluntary, but in fact, as Wired points out, other such “voluntary” programs mandate the kind of data reported and the frequency of the reports.

Restrictions on the kinds of data private industry can compile from customers are significantly more lax than those within the government itself, and the granular levels of detail businesses could offer the government about user behavior – which are currently used primarily for advertising – have become a heated topic of debate.

Fight for the Future’s list doesn’t just cover Cisa; the group also breaks down industry support for the NSA-backed plan to insert “back doors” into cryptography and whether respondents support reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, or ECPA (Reagan-era legislation which allows law enforcement to request all electronic messages older than six months by serving the provider with a subpoena, rather than a search warrant).

 Fight for the Future’s scorecard highlights where companies land on mass surveillance.

With respect to the ECPA, Microsoft is currently in the midst of a pitched legal battle with the Department of Justice over its demands for access to emails held on a server in Ireland. Microsoft argues that the case has broad implications for the ability of American companies to conduct business internationally.

Three of the companies surveyed by Fight for the Future, Verizon, Xerox and Priceline, take the government line (or refused to answer the survey) on all three issues – cryptographic back doors, voluntarily sharing user info with the US government, and keeping old user info easy to obtain by authorities.

But far more in the industry oppose the whole batch of programs, largely through their proxies at industry trade associations, some of which have had changes of heart over the bill’s long life:
  • The Computer and Communications Industry Association, representing Google, Facebook, Yahoo and several others: “Cisa’s prescribed mechanism for sharing of cyber threat information does not sufficiently protect users’ privacy or appropriately limit the permissible uses of information shared with the government. In addition, the bill authorizes entities to employ network defense measures that might cause collateral harm to the systems of innocent third parties.”
  • The Business Software Alliance (BSA), representing Apple, Adobe, Dell and HP, among others, did an abrupt about-face. From August: “It is important to advance legislation that removes the legal barriers that discourage information sharing between the public and privates sectors while protecting consumer privacy, and that’s a critical balance to reach.” And then, from September, after negative coverage: “For clarity, BSA does not support any of the three current bills pending before Congress, including the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (Cisa).”
  • Salesforce, represented by the BSA, felt the need to go further: “Salesforce does not support Cisa and has never supported Cisa.”
  • More broadly, Microsoft’s chief legal officer, Brad Smith, said that US attitudes toward privacy had become damaging to the ability of the tech sector to work abroad. Calling the right to privacy “fundamental”, Smith wrote: “It is untenable to expect people to rely on a notion of privacy protection that changes every timesomeone else moves their information around. No fundamental right can rest on such a shaky foundation.”
  • And Twitter, the day before the bill was reintroduced:
Greer said objections to the bill extended to concerns about basic competence. Cisa, she said, would put sensitive information in the hands of a government that is regularly and easily hacked “at a time when people’s online data is so fragile”.


“The concerns around this bill go so far past privacy,” Greer said. “People don’t trust the government or large corporations with their data anymore. We need mechanisms to hold them accountable and this bill goes in the exact opposite direction.”