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, March 19, 2016

9560 - Can You Lose Your Fingerprints? - Scientific American




A 62-year-old man from Singapore was traveling to the U.S. to see relatives last December and was detained after a routine fingerprint scan showed that he actually had none. So how did this happen?

The man, identified in a medical journal case report only as "Mr. S," had been on chemotherapy to keep his head and neck cancer in check. As it turns out, the drug, capecitabine (brand name, Xeloda) had given him a moderate case of something known as hand–foot syndrome (aka chemotherapy-induced acral erythema), which can cause swelling, pain and peeling on the palms and soles of the feet—and apparently, loss of fingerprints.

Mr. S's doctor, Eng-Huat Tan, a senior oncology consultant at the National Cancer Center in Singapore, described the incident in a letter published earlier this week in Annals of Oncology and recommended patients on that drug obtain letters from their doctors before traveling to the U.S.

Officials allowed Mr. S to enter the country following a few hours' detainment when they were "satisfied that he was not a security threat," Tan noted in his letter. Mr. S says he had not noticed that his fingerprints had vanished before he set out on his trip, and his doctor found informal online mentions of other chemo patients complaining of lost fingerprints.

Forensics expert Edward Richards, director of the Program in Law, Science and Public Health at Louisiana State University, explains that "other diseases, rashes and the like can cause vesicular breakdown of the skin on your fingers—just a good case of poison ivy would do it." But, he notes, "Left alone, your skin replaces at a fairly good rate, so unless you've done permanent damage to the tissue, it will regenerate."

As fingerprint scanning and other biometrics become more common (visitors seeking entry into the U.S. must have their prints scanned to ensure they do not currently hold a visa under another name), scanning technology is also advancing. But cases such as this point out that you actually need fingerprints for identification. So how effective are current scanners, and how else have people—accidentally or intentionally—altered their fingerprints?

To find out, we spoke with fingerprint expert Kasey Wertheim, president of Complete Consultants Worldwide, LLC, which provides fingerprint examination expertise to government clients and has done forensic and biometric work for the U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin.

[An edited transcript of the interview follows.]

Are all fingerprints truly unique?

Yes. It has to do with how the fingerprints form in the womb. During the first trimester, the fingerprints have already established their permanence and uniqueness.

Aside from forensics and travel, what else are fingerprint scans being used for these days?

More and more, fingerprints are being used in biometric devices to permit secure log-on, to open locks, and for access control in general. The biggest users of biometrics are corporate and private users, but fingerprints also have a long history in the forensics world for criminal identification dating back over a century.

Are current scanners pretty reliable?
The exact rate of print rejection [those that can't be read] depends on the scanner. Ultrasound devices go beyond just the outer layer and capture part of the root system. On average, the rejection rate for [scanned] fingerprints is about 1 to 2 percent.

The patient who was detained for lacking prints had hand–foot syndrome that was caused by his chemotherapy drug. What are some other ways that fingerprints can disappear?
The most prominent of those problems involve bricklayers—who wear down ridges on their prints handling heavy, rough materials frequently—or people who work with lime [calcium oxide], because it's really basic and dissolves the top layers of the skin. The fingerprints tend to grow back over time. And, surprisingly, secretaries, because they deal with paper all day. The constant handling of paper tends to wear down the ridge detail.

Also, the elasticity of skin decreases with age, so a lot of senior citizens have prints that are difficult to capture. The ridges get thicker; the height between the top of the ridge and the bottom of the furrow gets narrow, so there's less prominence. So if there's any pressure at all [on the scanner], the print just tends to smear.

How have people intentionally changed or "disappeared" their fingerprints?

There are many documented cases of intentional fingerprint mutilation, but generally those involve pretty severe damage to the skin—more specifically between the generating layer, where the template of the fingerprint survives, and the upper layer, the epidermis.

Pretty much any cut or burn that goes deeper than the outer layer of the skin can affect the fingerprint pattern in a permanent way. But even with permanent scarring, the new scar becomes a unique aspect of that person's fingerprint.

The first case of documented fingerprint mutilation was in 1934, by Theodore "Handsome Jack" Klutis, who led a gang called the College Kidnappers. When the police finally caught up with him, Klutis went for his gun and the police returned fire, killing him. When they compared his postmortem fingerprints, police found that each of his prints had been cut by a knife, resulting in semicircular scars around each fingerprint. Although it was glorified in the media, it was an amateur job; the procedure left more than enough ridge detail to identify him.