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.


Friday, February 12, 2016

9336 - Privacy in the Context of Data Protection - Legally India



The privacy debate surrounding the aadhaar proceedings has, in the recent past stirred debate on the constitutional perceptive on privacy. In addition to this, the disastrous National Draft Encryption Policy and the Human DNA Profiling Bill, 2015 have challenged the legal contours of privacy, particularly the understanding of data protection in India. Placing increasing reliance on results of consolidated databases of the processed data has posed glaring questions of accountability and transparency in data handling. The inherent potential for privacy violations through processing of data has brought to focus, the legal framework which monitor such databases. However, there is a dearth of such a framework and the notion of privacy stands on unstable grounds.

Data Protection in India
The ongoing battle on judicial determination of privacy as a constitutional right is scheduled to be taken up by the Supreme Court in the near future. This will in definite terms establish the position of the right to privacy within the ambit of the Constitution of India. Statutory conferment of privacy as a right could be parallelly ascertained but legislative attempts on privacy and on data protection are yet to materialize. The Expert Committee that was set up to review the Information Technology Act submitted its report in August, 2005 to the Department of Information Technology and called for an amendment to certain sections in tune with data protection and privacy standards. Following this, the Act was amended to include section 43A which imposes civil liability on account of failure to protect data. It is significant to note that the amendment paved way for self-regulation in terms of defining what constitutes “reasonable security practices and procedures” and “sensitive personal data or information”. However, while this is a workable attempt, it makes only for stopgap arrangement, and must yield to a more comprehensive regulation.

India’s legislative efforts to singularly respond to privacy as a concept, have been reluctant and disorganized. Sectoral efforts are however evident in a few areas. For communication records, the retention requirements of data, for service providers are found in the ISP and UASL licenses, which are grounded in the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. In the Health Sector, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare released a set of recommendations for electronic health records in India.    

Taking cue from Other Nations
Article 25(1) of the EU Directive, 1995 which regulates the transfer of data from EU member states to third party country provides that transfer of personal data “may take place only if … the third country in question ensures an adequate level of protection.” To assess India’s framework on data protection,, the European Commission in 2015 brought forth a report on Data Protection in India which highlighted the lacunae in Indian laws pertaining to personal data.

The second edition of the EU-US safe harbour model which rolled into motion at the behest of the ruling in Schrems is eagerly awaited. The Court of Justice in 2015 declared that the existing provisions of the US on protection of data were inadequate and called for a revised version by the end of January, 2016, with better accountability measures for transatlantic flow of data.  The new framework will be based on a stronger regime for protecting data by imposing obligations on companies handling EU’s personal data and enshrining transparency provisions. In the midst of this, the European Union adopted a reformed Data Protection Framework in December 2015 which was proposed by the EU Commission in January 2012. In the backdrop of several such developments on data protection, India’s progress in this regard is dissipated and reluctant. Taking cue from South Africa, which until very recently dealt with data protection within its constitutional ambit of privacy, and in 2014 adopted a legislation on data protection, Indian provisions could be consolidated into a formal and binding statute.

Original author: Joshita Pai