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.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

9711 - How The NSA Revelations Made Surveillance Worse For Minorities



BY LAUREN C. WILLIAMS  MAR 29, 2016 4:17 PM



Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden thought he was doing the world a public service by exposing the government’s indiscriminate mass surveillance programs. Public knowledge of these programs, however, may have a disconcerting side effect — those most likely to be put under surveillance refuse to criticize the government online.

The Journalism and Mass Communication 

Quarterly study examined Facebook users’ behavior when controversial topics, such as the U.S. launching airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS), came across their news feeds.
Researchers presented 255 participants with a fictitious Facebook post discussing a hypothetical U.S. airstrike targeting ISIS. They were then asked whether the airstrike was a good or a bad decision. Additionally, about half of those participants were also shown a post that alluded to the government’s online surveillance programs.

The study found that politically active participants were more likely to express an opinion if they felt that a terrorist attack was imminent. Overall, people who perceived themselves as having an unpopular opinion were less likely to comment, share, like, or post, in response to news of a U.S. airstrike campaign.
The most startling finding, however, was that people who believed the government was collecting their online data refused to share their feelings even if the majority of comments supported their opinions.

“When individuals think they are being monitored and disapprove of such surveillance practices, they are equally as unlikely to voice opinions in friendly opinion climates as they are in hostile ones,” researchers concluded.

Speaking out is highest “when one is the majority” and staying quiet is strongest when someone believes their online activity is being monitored but thinks the government practice is justified.
One of the study’s lead researchers, Elizabeth Stoycheff, told the Washington Post that people dismiss online surveillance because they don’t have anything to hide.
“So many people I’ve talked with say they don’t care about online surveillance because they don’t break any laws and don’t have anything to hide. And I find these rationales deeply troubling,” said Stoycheff, who is an assistant professor at Wayne State University.

Those same individuals who don’t voice their opinions, she said, are “enabling a culture of self-censorship because it further disenfranchises minority groups.”

Knowing that people are less inclined to state their opinions on the government’s behavior is generally disturbing, but Stoycheff was right. Dismissing online surveillance as no big deal, or self-censoring, deletes the voices of those most likely to be victimized by government misconduct.

Racial and religious minorities in America are at an increased risk of being targeted by law enforcement. Surveillance programs tossed around by Republican presidential candidates advocate for illegal monitoring of Muslim communities.

People of color are notoriously vulnerable to police harassment and brutality, but are particularly at risk online. More than 70 percent of Blacks or Latinos online use Facebook, and are more likely to use Twitter and Instagram than their white counterparts, according toPew Research. Those sites, particularly Twitter and Instagram, are often used to promote awareness for social movements such as Black Lives Matter, and have been monitored by law enforcement.

On top of online monitoring, minorities are disproportionately at risk of digital privacy violations through cellphone tracking and thephysical confiscation of devices upon arrest or during travel because they are more likely to access the internet through mobile devices.

Despite the amplification of social issues affecting marginalized communities, the fact remains that online conversations have stayed homogeneous. Researchers have established that social media sites can easily become echo chambers that elevate like-minded opinions. On platforms like Facebook, that behavior is often a result of people not having a diverse group of friends, effectivelyshutting out those who have different perspectives and beliefs.

Without a diverse set of voices weighing in on everything from the presidential debate, government programs, and media coverage, it’s likely nothing will change.