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


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.


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Sunday, March 20, 2016

9575 - Aadhaar more intrusive than US surveillance exposed by Snowden, say privacy advocates - Economic Times


NEW DELHI: The Parliament is set to pass legislation that gives agencies access to the world's biggest biometric database in the interests of national security, raising fears the privacy of a billion people could be compromised. 

The move could also usher in surveillance far more intrusive than the US telephone and Internet spying revealed by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden in 2013, some privacy advocates said. 

The Aadhaar database scheme, started seven years ago, was set up to streamline payment of benefits and cut down on massive wastage and fraud, and already nearly a billion people have registered their finger prints and iris signatures. 

Now the BJP, which inherited the scheme, wants to pass new provisions including those on national security, using a loophole to bypass the opposition in Parliament. 

"It has been showcased as a tool exclusively meant for disbursement of subsidies and we do not realise that it can also be used for mass surveillance," said Tathagata Satpathy, a lawmaker from Odisha. 

"Can the government ... assure us that this Aadhaar card and the data that will be collected under it - biometric, biological, iris scan, finger print, everything put together - will not be misused as has been done by the NSA in the US?" 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has defended the legislation, saying Aadhaar saved the government an estimated $2.2 billion in the 2014-15 financial year alone. 

A finance ministry spokesman added that the government had taken steps to ensure citizens' privacy would be respected and the authority to access data was exercised only in rare cases. 

According to another government official, the new law is in fact more limited in scope than the decades-old Telegraph Act, which permits national security agencies and tax authorities to intercept telephone conversations of individuals in the interest of public safety. 

Those assurances have not satisfied political opponents and people from religious minorities, who say the database could be used as a tool to silence them. 

"We are midwifing a police state," said Asaduddin Owaisi, an opposition MP. 

Raman Jit Singh Chima, global policy director at Access, an international digital rights organisation, said the proposed Indian law lacked the transparency and oversight safeguards found in Europe or the United States, which last year reformed its bulk telephone surveillance programme. 

He pointed to the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which must approve many surveillance requests made by intelligence agencies, and European data protection authorities as oversight mechanisms not present in the Indian proposal. 

The Centre brought the Aadhaar legislation to Rajya Sabha on Wednesday in a bid to secure passage before lawmakers go into recess. 

To get around its lack of a majority there, the BJP is presenting it as a financial bill. It can return it to the Lok Sabha, where the ruling party has a majority. 

In its assessment of the measure, New Delhi-based PRS Legislative Research said law enforcement agencies could use someone's Aadhaar number as a link across various datasets such as telephone and air travel records. 

That would allow them to recognise patterns of behaviour and detect potential illegal activities. 

But it could also lead to harassment of individuals who are identified incorrectly as potential security threats, PRS said. 

Sunil Abraham, executive director of the Bengaluru-based Centre for Internet and Society, said Aaadhaar created a central repository of biometrics for almost every citizen of the world's most populous democracy that could be compromised. 

"Maintaining a central database is akin to getting the keys of every house in Delhi and storing them at a central police station," he said. 


"It is very easy to capture iris data of any individual with the use of next generation cameras. Imagine a situation where the police is secretly capturing the iris data of protesters and then identifying them through their biometric records."