The UIDAI has taken two successive governments in India and the entire world for a ride. It identifies nothing. It is not unique. The entire UID data has never been verified and audited. The UID cannot be used for governance, financial databases or anything. It’s use is the biggest threat to national security since independence. – Anupam Saraph 2018

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 scholarUsha Ramanathandescribes 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

In the Supreme Court, Meenakshi Arora, one of the senior counsel in the case, compared it to living under a general, perpetual, nation-wide criminal warrant.

Had never thought of it that way, but living in the Aadhaar universe is like living in a prison. All of us are treated like criminals with barely any rights or recourse and gatekeepers have absolute power on you and your life.

Announcing the launch of the#BreakAadhaarChainscampaign, culminating with events in multiple cities on 12th Jan. This is the last opportunity to make your voice heard before the Supreme Court hearings start on 17th Jan 2018. In collaboration with @no2uidand@rozi_roti.

UIDAI's security seems to be founded on four time tested pillars of security idiocy

1) Denial

2) Issue fiats and point finger

3) Shoot messenger

4) Bury head in sand.

God Save India

Saturday, April 2, 2016

9712 - Big Brother is listening: Beware


Russian phone and Internet surveillance systems developers have actively been selling technology and equipment abroad, claim the authors of a new book, "The Red Web."


Russian journalists claim that Russian companies have long been supplying wiretapping technology and equipment to foreign markets. Source:Shutterstock/Legion Media
"The Red Web", a book published in the United States by Russian journalists Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, describes in unprecedented detail the efforts of the Russian government to monitor telecommunications.
The authors of the book claim that Russian companies have long been supplying wiretapping technology and equipment to foreign markets, particularly to Latin American countries.

Texts to Maidan protesters
Mobile phones of participants at an anti-government protest rally in Kiev on January 21, 2014, began to vibrate, one after the other. They received text messages saying, "Dear subscriber! You have been registered as a participant in the riots."

Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt distribute bread to riot police near Independence square in Kiev December 11, 2013. 
Source: Reuters

Kyivstar, one of Ukraine’s major cell phone companies, said the messages were sent by pirate base stations known as IMSI-catchers. But there is another theory, which is related to Russia's System for Operative Investigative Activities, or SORM.
There were other scandals also; in particular, a recording of telephone conversations between Victoria Nuland, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State who was in Kiev at that time, and Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. These conversations were published on the Internet, and the recording received widespread notoriety because Nuland admitted her support for the anti-government opposition, as well as her disgust for the European Union's inability to influence the situation.

National voice-print system
The reach of SORM's developers extends to Latin America. In particular, this relates to the company, Speech Technology Centre (STC), founded in 1993 by Sergei Koval and Mikhai Khitrov, former employees of the Leningrad Long-Distance Communication Institute.

During the Soviet era, Koval was in charge of an acoustic laboratory involved in developing voice-recognition systems at the Long-Distance Communication Institute (Dalsvyaz), under the auspices of the State Security Committee (KGB). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, work in this field stopped, and Dalsvyaz's employees had to look for other jobs.
STC's team, however, managed to continue developing their area of expertise on a commercial basis. The company immediately received lucrative contracts from the FSB and, several years ago, a major share in STC was acquired by Gazprombank.

STC was even able to develop a nationwide voice recognition system, originally conceived in the Soviet era. It was launched not in Russia, however, but in Mexico, in 2008. The system allows the Mexican authorities to find people using biometric information, voice samples, photos, and so on. People who have to provide voice samples include law enforcement officials, prisoners, and other categories of people (like those seeking receiving a driver's licence).

A Russian trail in Colombia's scandal
In 2009, Colombia faced a major scandal when the country's secret service, Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad (DAS), was accused of intercepting telephone conversations of opposition politicians, journalists, and even Supreme Court judges. It was alleged that the DAS was acting on the orders of President Alvaro Uribe.

Maria del Pilar Hurtado was sentenced to 14 years in prison on charges of illegally intercepting phone calls from opposition Colombian lawmakers. Source: Reuters
DAS chief Felipe Munoz held a press conference in the Colombian capital Bogota, in which Koval took part as an independent expert. He said he studied about 20 audio samples related to the leaks, and concluded that they were made on different equipment from that used by the DAS. The Colombian secret service was therefore initially exonerated. 

However, it later emerged that Koval's conclusions were incorrect. William Remero, former senior DAS officer admitted that he had arranged the wiretappings on the direct instructions of Maria del Pilar Hurtado, who earlier headed the DAS until 2008. Eventually, this surveillance data was supplied to President Uribe. Prosecutors brought charges against the DAS leadership. Hurtado was sentenced to 14 years in prison, and the DAS itself was disbanded in 2011.

First published in Russian in CNews.ru.