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

9701 - Worst Is Yet to Come With Aadhaar, Warn Activists - Out Look



FILE PHOTO - NILOTPAL BARUAH

With the dust yet to settle on the dramatic passing of the UIDAI (Aadhaar) Bill in the Lok Sabha, anti-Aadhar activists had a press conference in Delhi to articulate their concerns about the unexpected development. The bill is expected to face a stiff challenge in the Supreme Court. Aadhaar is India’s largest identification project, covering vast swathes of the population.

PDT Achary, former secretary general of the Lok Sabha, argued that the passing of the bill as a money bill is unconstitutional. He said, “Article 110(3) confirms finality on the speaker’s decision on the question of whether a bill is a money bill. But this constitutional provision cannot be seen as a convenient tool to deal with an inconvenient second chamber,” referring to the Rajya Sabha which does not have a say in whether a money bill is passed or not.

Apart from the route used to clear the Aadhaar bill, activists raised privacy concerns. Nandan Nilekani, considered the pioneer of Aadhaar, recently said that the Aadhaar scheme worked as it was cashless, paperless and presence-less. Yet, these have emerged as the biggest problems with the bill. “The UID scheme has ensured that the person providing the data has no say in who utilises the data for what,” says Usha Ramanathan, an eminent jurist. “This was always supposed to be an identification project, not an identity project and the fact that the bill is touted to be cashless will only add to more last-mile problems,” she adds.

The technology being used for the collection of the data has also come under scrutiny. The government has specified that it will use  Studies though suggest that these parameters may change in the long run, rendering a person’s only link to the UID number unidentifiable.

Says Ramanathan, “In making biometrics compulsory for the poor, the poor are being told that they do not have any interest in privacy, and that they should only care about the money they may get from the government or the food that may be provided. This reduction of citizenship of the poor person to a rightless welfare recipient is itself unconstitutional.” Another concern is that mobile registrations have been mandated by the government which could lead to surveillance by both government as well as private companies which could be given access to the data.

The present government’s stand on the issues raised by Aadhar is still seen with apprehension by many because of the stand it took when the UPA government was in power. One of the major campaign points of the current NDA government in the 2014 assembly elections was to scrap the scheme. “One cannot but question the intent behind the NDA governments changed stance on the UIDAI scheme in the past few months. The sudden change from scrapping to passing a money bill to implement the scheme can only lead us to believe that it has something to do with the contract agreements the government signed with companies such as Accenture, E&Y and Safran group,” says Dr Gopal Krishna of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties.
The issue of right to privacy with regards to the collection of Biometric data by governments has become a global one now as countries such as Philippines as well as the United States and United Kingdom have passed resolutions to conserve the privacy of its citizens. Closer to home, Bangladesh is currently fighting a legal battle in its high court to protect the right to privacy against a similar biometric system that was mandated by the government.


Report by Arushi Bedi, Outlook