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.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

9695 - The Basis Of Privacy - Indian Express



Aadhaar legislation points to the need for a comprehensive privacy law.

Written by Apar Gupta | Published:March 29, 2016 12:02 am

Most of the debate on the Aadhaar bill has centred on the right to privacy. All five amendments suggested by the Rajya Sabha,
subsequently rejected by the Lok Sabha, had an element of this right within them. But the core deficiency rested not in the lack of protections in the Aadhaar bill but in the absence of a comprehensive privacy statute to develop and enforce them.

We must look at both substantive protections and the procedure
available to enforce them. Many people regard privacy as an amorphous concept, which is also why it is hard for them to visualise any harm to it. Recognising this problem, in 2012, the Justice A.P. Shah Committee suggested nine distinct principles canonising the right to privacy. An analysis of the Aadhaar bill shows that it does not even recognise some of these nine principles. For instance, take the principle of access; a person cannot in any instance demand access to their core biometric information under the Aadhaar bill.

But greater difficulty exists in enforcing the laconic safeguards of the bill. Broadly, the three forms of judicial remedy usually enforced are civil, criminal and the writ jurisdiction of high courts and the Supreme Court. The Aadhaar bill makes all these three remedies ineffective for individuals.

The civil remedies under the bill oust the jurisdiction of civil courts in favour of the system set up for penalties under the Information Technology Act. The existing penalties under the IT Act are deficient, as they were never intended to provide comprehensive privacy legislation. Even if they are amended, enforcement under the IT Act has never worked properly and shows no promise of improvement.

Under it, the jurisdiction of civil courts is barred in favour of
“adjudicating officers”. These officers are usually a serving IT
secretary of the state government given additional charge to
adjudicate cases under the IT Act. Though persons of high competence, a lack of resources and training handicaps not only their capacity but also the quality of judicial orders necessary to withstand review.

Such scrutiny would naturally arise in appeal as provided under the IT Act — but, for the last three years, the Cyber Appellate Tribunal that hears such appeals has not been properly constituted and is not functioning.

The problems with enforcement of criminal remedies are more
straightforward: Only the UIDAI can make complaints for the offences contained under the Aadhaar bill. Not only is this a conflict of interest but it also takes away the Aadhaar user’s recourse to a criminal remedy. It may be argued that penal provisions under the IT Act and the IPC can be invoked by individuals. But such an assertion must consider the absence of any notification mechanism. The Aadhaar user is never informed when a crime relating to their data occurs.

They will never have the particulars necessary to register a criminal complaint.

This brings us to the final remedy of writs that can be availed of to enforce the fundamental and statutory rights available to a person. It would normally be expected that a person would be able to approach an HC for the enforcement of rights under the Aadhaar bill. Especially if the UIDAI does not provide authentication as it is intended to do, or fails to correct the data records. Most people know the poor quality of data entry in government IDs. Aadhaar requires a safeguard clearly conferring a right than can be enforced through a writ. However, these rights are problematically phrased as “requests” for supplying and correcting information. This dilution is made clear by the absence of the requirement of a hearing, a reasoned order or an appellate process under the bill.

It is not without reason that the Justice Shah report suggested a
comprehensive legislation to safeguard privacy and also the office of a central privacy commissioner to develop and apply it. Even when suggesting the establishment of a privacy commissioner, who could impose penalties for violations, it recognised the central role of existing judicial forums by retaining the jurisdiction of civil  courts. While many may see privacy as the core issue in the Aadhaar programme, privacy itself transcends it. As our everyday lives become connected, a comprehensive privacy legislation is an essential safeguard.