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, February 13, 2016

9351 - We are creating a modern computing language - TNN


Anand J | TNN | Feb 12, 2016, 05.05 PM IST

The youngest founder at Julia Computing is just 21. He is still in college, contributing to the Bengaluru-based company's open source programming language during his spare time. 

That's Keno Fischer. The German citizen is doing his masters in Physics from Harvard University. He was a prolific contributor to the language for three years preceding his status as co-founder of Julia Computing. 

"We are a meritocratic company. Our oldest member is 52 (Alan Edelman, a professor of applied mathematics and computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Our biggest contributor now is a higher secondary student," says founding partner of Julia Computing, Viral B Shah. 

The other founders are Stefan Karpinski, Jeff Bezanson, Edelman, and Deepak Vinchhi, who work across various locations in Cambridge (MIT, Boston, US), California and Bengaluru. Shah is the common connection. The six founders met for the first time last year at the annual JuliaCon event held at MIT. 

Shah started it as a side project in 2009. Since then, the language has become very popular. It got a huge boost when a blog post uploaded on their website on February 14, 2012, went viral. Today, the number of contributors to the language stands at 500. And the language is being used by 150,000 programmers. 

The software is given free while the company makes money from services and consultancy. "You need a new modern day language to process the huge data that is aggregated as part of internet-of-things and the cloud," says Shah.

Several Fortune 500 companies, as also the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the New York Fed, and Blackrock Capital are among the many that have used the language. It is being used across sectors — financial services, 3D printing, semiconductors. It has entered the classrooms of several computer science colleges around the world. 

"We incorporated the venture in December 2013 when a New York-based hedge fund approached us to support them in the use of the language," says Shah, who holds a doctorate in computer science from University of California. After college, Shah worked as a senior scientist at Interactive Supercomputing, a company that was acquired by Microsoft. The latter killed the intellectual property that Shah had created at Interactive Supercomputing. That pushed Shah to focus on open source.

"With open source, you can keep on building and expanding the horizon of what the software can do," says Shah, pointing out that even Microsoft programs are now being open sourced. Shah has also co-created Circuitscape, a free, open-source program which helps to predict patterns of movement, gene flow, and genetic differentiation among plant and animal populations in heterogeneous landscapes. It was used to map India's tiger population.

The Mumbai-born, 36-year old Shah says he has not made much money, despite his qualifications. But he also adds that since he was from an upper middle class family, there wasn't too much pressure and he had the freedom to experiment. He worked for three years on a meagre salary with the Aadhaar programme, attracted by its potential to bring financial inclusion. "By late 2012, Aadhaar was on autopilot. So I took up Julia full time," he says.