The UIDAI has taken two successive governments in India and the entire world for a ride. It identifies nothing. It is not unique. The entire UID data has never been verified and audited. The UID cannot be used for governance, financial databases or anything. It’s use is the biggest threat to national security since independence. – Anupam Saraph 2018

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 scholarUsha Ramanathandescribes 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

In the Supreme Court, Meenakshi Arora, one of the senior counsel in the case, compared it to living under a general, perpetual, nation-wide criminal warrant.

Had never thought of it that way, but living in the Aadhaar universe is like living in a prison. All of us are treated like criminals with barely any rights or recourse and gatekeepers have absolute power on you and your life.

Announcing the launch of the#BreakAadhaarChainscampaign, culminating with events in multiple cities on 12th Jan. This is the last opportunity to make your voice heard before the Supreme Court hearings start on 17th Jan 2018. In collaboration with @no2uidand@rozi_roti.

UIDAI's security seems to be founded on four time tested pillars of security idiocy

1) Denial

2) Issue fiats and point finger

3) Shoot messenger

4) Bury head in sand.

God Save India

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

9628 - Aadhaar: Fact and fiction - Live Mint

Aadhaar: Fact and fiction
What is revealing is the abysmal ignorance about Aadhaar among so-called experts, activists and even some legislators

Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Last week, the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, finally got Parliament’s approval after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government employed unorthodox methods—introducing it as a money bill to deny the Rajya Sabha its now-customary veto. But wait a minute. This is not the big takeaway.

Indeed, while purists may baulk at the manner in which the NDA obtained parliamentary approval, what was revealing is the abysmal ignorance about Aadhaar, or the unique identification number held by 992,641,185 residents of India, among so-called experts, activists and even some legislators. More appalling was the fact that this ignorance was being spread across television channels with a certitude, similar to what former US president George Bush employed in arguing that Iraq had a stash of dangerous chemical weapons to justify an invasion.

One activist claimed in a TV discussion that because of Aadhaar, she would be under surveillance while travelling from Jaipur to Delhi by road—when crossing tolls, she claimed, the government would monitor her and invade her privacy. This is plain fiction and smacks of a complete lack of understanding of Aadhaar and the process of authentication.

Yes, Aadhaar is a repository of detailed personal information—which if it lands in wrong hands could be put to immense misuse—but not accessible to other government departments as activists would like us to believe.

And no, it is not equivalent to GPS coordinates (which, by the way, is what Google accesses on your phone when you use its maps facility to plan your road trip; wonder what happens to privacy concerns then).

All that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which commands this database, will do, when a request is made to verify the Aadhaar number of someone, is to authenticate the claim. No other information is exchanged nor can it be sought; and now with Aadhaar enjoying statutory backing, it will be illegal to do so.

Similarly, it is fiction that possessing Aadhaar will imply citizenship. The 12-digit unique identification number is issued to all residents and the UIDAI does not verify if the person is a citizen; all they see is that the person is resident in India—so yes, even foreigners can have an Aadhaar, but this does not make them citizens. (During the discussion in Parliament, I recall an opposition member claiming that the passage of the Aadhaar bill will bestow illegal Bangladeshi migrants with Indian citizenship as they can now enrol for an Aadhaar number.)
Yes, it is a fait accompli. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is remiss in not exhibiting the same urgency and realpolitik as the NDA to push for the statutory backing of Aadhaar. Instead, it used the power of an executive order to empower the UIDAI to capture the biometric data of nearly one billion Indians. So, giving it legal backing was a foregone conclusion.

Yes, there are concerns about privacy. But then, they are considerably reduced with the passage of the Aadhaar legislation.

I would go with what a genuine expert such as Rahul Matthan, partner in the Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) group at Trilegal, has to say on the subject.

In a piece published on 7 March in Mint (http://bit.ly/1Rt8Dkf) he said, “The Aadhaar Bill, if it passes in its current form, will impose some of the strongest fetters on government over-reach, of any legislation in the country.”

According to Matthan, the NDA government has sufficiently ring-fenced the biometric data, though it has squeezed in exceptions (like threat to national security) where it can access personal data, but with the clearance of an oversight committee.

Ideally, this debate can only be satisfactorily concluded once the NDA brings forward the legislation on privacy, which the UPA drafted but conveniently consigned to the byzantine world of the Indian bureaucracy.

Presumably, this puts an end to the countless rumours that have been taking root, ever since Nandan Nilekani was brought in from the private sector to pilot Aadhaar by the UPA. Now, it is time for all concerned to deliver on the promise.

Anil Padmanabhan is deputy managing editor of Mint and writes every week on the intersection of politics and economics.
Comments are welcome at capitalcalculus@livemint.com
His Twitter handle is @capitalcalculus