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.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

9164 - Fallacy of the Unique ID Aadhaar - Kanga on line



By Imphal Free Press December 11, 2015 23:46
Leader Writer: Grace Jajo

This is one of the most successful and ambitious campaign in the present generation to befool both the illiterate as well as the literate ‘educated’ population of the country with an ad of ‘Unique’. The fixation for ‘Unique’ have apparently excited people to opt for a hollow 14 digit number as their ‘Unique’ identity superseding all the existing official identities like Passport ID, Voters ID, Driving License etc.

What we fail to see is the notorious intent behind this illegal campaign to seal every residents of India with a 14 digit No. It is amazing that using a name like Nandan Nilekani former Infosys chief as UIDAI chairman could save a lot of FAQ regarding why this UID is not limited to citizens and can be availed by any residents including the visiting tourist and floating population including the ‘militants’. UIDAI has been collecting fingerprints and iris scans of all residents along with other information for Aadhaar, which is implemented since September 2010 without Parliament`s approval.

The discourse on the intrusion to one’s privacy through the convergence approach of this ‘Unique’ ID was vibrant among the intellectuals but the offer of the 14 digit No in smart card format seems to excite the poor population with fallacies of benefits. Aadhaar is an integral component of the neo-liberal reform programme introduced by UPA.

Neither has the government been explicit about the stark difference with Social Security Numbers in developed countries nor have they clarified that the ‘Unique’ ID has no entitlements along with the 14 digit no. except to extract the holders details. Issues related to access and misuse of personal information, surveillance, profiling, linking and matching of databases and securing confidentiality of information are imperative.

During the initial pilot project five years back and the Unique Identification Authority of India/UIDAI’s public discussion with the civil society leaders, one veteran Human Rights Activist had observed that in a country like India which still lacks a Privacy law, this procedure of recording both iris scan and ten finger prints to tap an individual’s mobility and participation in the State can be extremely intimidating and unlawful.

The Government has neither disclosed a policy of access to this data till date nor enacted a national data protection law. This immediately increases the vulnerability of the people especially in conflict zones where peoples’ proximity with both the military and militants adds to their insecurity.

Aadhaar is Voluntary yet the Government was making it mandatory for various Governmental programmes until 15 of October 2015 when the Supreme Court stated that the authorities cannot insist on a citizen to produce his Aadhaar card while extending the voluntary use of the Aadhaar card for availing the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Jan-Dhan Yojana, Provident Funds and Pension Schemes. Yet the public still lacks an understanding to question the mandatory insistence on ground.

This verdict was following the previous order by the Supreme Court on 11 of August 2015 advising the Government to give wide publicity in media that Aadhaar is not mandatory to get benefits which are otherwise due to citizens.

In August 2015 the Government has decided that Aadhaar enrollment of Non-Resident Indians, Persons of Indian Origin and Overseas Citizen of India should be eventually allowed to help them authenticate their identity digitally.

Subtle threats have punctuated this Aadhaar Project, in October2013 the Government tried to insist on Aadhaar for EPF, later again in October 2014 the Central government said it would start linking mobile SIM numbers with Aadhaar cards, in November 2014 the MoEA tried to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing Passport. The Prime Minister himself made a speech that Aadhaar card is enough to open a Jan Dan Yojana account which was later clarified. Presently in Manipur the LPG distributors have been insisting on linking with Aadhaar cards while the Government is trying to woo the public to sign up for this intruding ID.

The bizarre reality of this mad euphoria is the enrollment of 73.5 % of the population as on 30 of November 2015 with Delhi leading with 106.9 percent enrollment! Interestingly while Assam and Meghalaya has less than 2 % enrollment, Manipur is leading at 52.1 %, based on the UDAI website.

Choice is a right indeed however if that choice of voluntary is not explained vividly by the State it surely amounts to another exploitation of the subjects by the State.