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.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

9659 - Tech fraternity wants iPhone compatibility with Aadhaar - The Hindu

March 24, 2016


Apple Inc recently named India as one of its most important growth areas for the next decade and is in early stages to bring its retail stores to the country. However, India’s tech community including start-up founders say that Apple should make the fingerprint reader in their iconic iPhone compatible with Aadhaar for biometric authentication, if it has to tap the South Asian country’s market.

Technologists and start-up founders said companies like Apple are acting as a ‘gate keeper’ for biometric authentication. They say the firm is averse to allow open application programme interface that allows access to their propriety software.

“India is now the world’s largest smartphone market and it should compel them (smartphone companies) to change their philosophy,” said India’ s top tech entrepreneur Nandan Nilekani, who spearheaded the country’ s massive unique identification project Aadhaar. “India is an open market, but we also want people in this market to play by our rules,” said Mr. Nilekani who is a mentor at software product think tank iSPIRT, that aims to transform India into a hub for new generation software products.

Mr. Nilekani said the government should take up the issue and make sure the smartphones sold in India with biometric system including fingerprint readers and iris scanners are compatible with Aadhaar. He said the country has certain digital standards which are required for the economic growth and Aadhaar authentication on the smartphone is one of them.

An email query sent to Apple to share insights about their plans of making iPhones compatible with Aadhaar went unanswered.
India has overtaken United States to become world’s second largest smart phone market, after China, with 220 million users according to Counterpoint Research. Experts said smartphone makers like Samsung, Lenovo and Micromax have already made their phones compatible with Aadhaar.

“The current implementation of Apple’s authentication is not Aadhaar-compatible,” said Sanjay Swamy, who worked with the Unique Identification Authority of India and now runs venture capital firm Prime Venture Partners. “It would be terrific if Apple supported the Aadhaar authentication system,” said Mr. Swamy whose firm has backed payment technology start-ups such as Ezetap and Happay.

Two-factor authentication

Experts say that now increasingly for financial and other transactions, consumers would need to do two factor authentication.

One factor of authentication is the phone itself. The second factor of authentication is either biometric (fingerprint reader, iris scanner) or one time password (OTP) linked to biometric authentication, depending on the nature of the financial transaction.

A few start-up founders also said that a closed-source platform like Apple’s mobile operating system iOS will not allow developers to build innovations atop the Aadhaar platform. This becomes more important at a time, when the Cupertino-based firm launched a smaller, cheaper iPhone SE on Monday, aimed at making deeper inroads in emerging markets like India and China.

“There will be an issue. I can’t use this (Apple fingerprint reader) for biometric authentication unless it is authorised,” said Adhil Shetty, founder of BankBazaar.com, an online financial services start-up. The firm is investing heavily on its mobile app that will help consumers get financial products and also provide support to manage their finances. “They (Apple) will have to keep their software system open for Aadhaar.”

Sanjiv Singhal, founder of fintech start-up Scripbox said that a combination of large number of smartphones and mobile devices combined with the availability of an infrastructure like Aadhaar makes India a unique economy.

“Aadhaar is a fantastic opportunity and smartphone brands need to enable their ecosystems to make use of this seamlessly,” said Mr. Singhal.

Privacy concerns

Privacy advocates say that smartphone makers should learn from Apple, for not allowing any backdoors and not compromising on privacy and security.

It is fighting a legal battle with the U.S government that concerns whether and to what extent courts in the U.S can compel manufacturers to assist in unlocking cell phones whose contents are cryptographically protected. But technology experts said in a system like Aadhaar, there won’t be any compromises made in the security standards for capture, transmission, validation and storage of resident data.
“In any biometric authentication, the data is never allowed to be stored anywhere during the transaction,” said Mr.Swamy of Prime Venture Partners.


He is of the view that India is playing a leadership role in the biometrics security standards communities around the world. “We expect other countries and systems to also adopt what India is developing.”