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 27, 2016

9660 - Auditing Aadhaar - Business Standard


Need open deliberation on systems to avoid misuse

Business Standard Editorial Comment  |  New Delhi 

March 24, 2016 Last Updated at 21:42 IST

Now that a law is being put in place to validate the Aadhaar programme, the focus must shift to the rules which will be framed under it to work the system. It has to be ensured that these rules reflect the spirit and content of the new law. In scrutinising the rules, three primary issues will have to be kept in mind. One is the assurances given to protect the privacy of individuals, so that data relating to their identity are not misused or fall into the wrong hands. The Aadhaar authority will obtain individuals' consent for sharing the data while carrying out fresh registration. It is interesting to speculate if an individual can give consent for her identity data to be shared with ministries distributing subsidies for things like food and kerosene, but not the home ministry whose job it is to identify potential security threats. Further, can the Aadhaar authorities tell a ministry that it can use the data itself but not pass them on to another ministry? As is clear from what the head of Aadhaar has told this newspaper, a suitable mechanism for auditing the operations of Aadhaar to track when and for what purpose its data are shared with others is necessary. This should not be seen as paranoia, but as trying to make sure that when a new system is being set up, it is done the right way.

The second issue is authentication. For Aadhaar to succeed in transferring benefits to the deserving poor, the primary concern must be to ensure that people who are illiterate and in far-flung areas should not be left out because they are unable to participate in a technical process. What happens when there is no electricity or internet connectivity in a truly remote area? 

Currently a ration shop owner in such a place can look at a ration card and deliver. But what happens when authentication via Aadhaar fails because of lack of connectivity? The head of Aadhaar has told this newspaper that a technology option that can be examined is the use of a "one-time password" received over a cellphone (the national network coverage is now extensive). This very usefully takes forward meeting the authentication challenge for all. Then, of course, there is the physical Aadhaar card which should be useful in case all else fails in ensuring authentication. Today's technology frontier offers one other option. If a Wi-Fi network covers the entire country, then using a data connection to secure authentication will not be a hurdle anywhere.

The third issue to sort out is about the Aadhaar authorities getting paid for the use of the process or data by private players. Microfinance organisations, for example, prefer to lend only to people with two identifications, one of them being Aadhaar. Can an individual ask for a share of the revenue that Aadhaar earns by allowing use of her individual data? Even more interestingly, can the Aadhaar authorities charge a fee from private developers of apps which seek to extract value from the Aadhaar data base? These open questions must be deliberated upon openly and transparently by the authorities concerned even as the operational details for implementing Aadhaar under a new legislative framework are finalised.