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.


Monday, March 7, 2016

9437 - Editorial: Guarding Aadhaar data - Financial Express

Don’t have a backdoor for disclosing biometric data

By: The Financial Express | March 4, 2016 2:28 AM

Given the fears raised by various privacy advocates, the Aadhaar Bill has done well to categorically say “no core biometric information, collected or created under this Act shall be shared with anyone for any reason whatsoever or used for any purpose other than generation of Aadhaar numbers and authentication under this Act”.

Given the fears raised by various privacy advocates, the Aadhaar Bill has done well to categorically say “no core biometric information, collected or created under this Act shall be shared with anyone for any reason whatsoever or used for any purpose other than generation of Aadhaar numbers and authentication under this Act”. 

That, indeed, was what Aadhaar was meant for—a way to ensure there was no theft in, say, subsidised rations and that these were delivered only to those whom they were meant for. 

As the database developed, other innovative uses for it were discovered like eKYC, DigiLocker, money transfers and, by all accounts, there is another lot of innovation waiting to be built upon this database.

The clauses that allow information to be shared under certain circumstances, however, need a closer look as it appears they can be abused.

 As in all such cases including phone tapping, the Bill says a court order will be required for sharing of information either in response to some police case or when national security demands it. This is where the potential problem comes in, more so since a district judge’s order is considered good enough.

 If data is sought on, say, whether a person used his Aadhaar biometrics at a particular location—‘authentication records’, in jargon—that may still be permissible, though with very strict checks. But a plain reading of Section 33(2) suggests that the information that can be revealed includes ‘identity information’ which, in the section on definitions, is said to include a person’s ‘Aadhaar number, his biometric information and his demographic information’. 

This is clearly a drafting lapse since the last thing the government wants is to have backdoors that allow biometric information of people to be accessed by anyone, including intelligence agencies—vital as national security is, Aadhaar is not meant to be a substitute for a fingerprint database of criminals or a crutch around which a case against a terrorist can be built. 

Indeed, Apple’s contention in its fight with the FBI over breaking into a terrorist’s phone is precisely that once a backdoor is created, there is no saying who else will enter it. Aadhaar can be used to bring about many productivity-enhancing changes, but they all revolve around the database being impenetrable. By anyone, at any time.