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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Thursday, April 7, 2016

9762 - Surveillance And Censorship Under Digital India And Aadhaar Regimes


The recent big profile political drama that we witnessed in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha regarding Aadhaar has once again reminded us how vulnerable we are in India when it comes to Civil Liberties, especially the Civil Liberties Protection in Cyberspace

Aadhaar Bill was imposed upon Indians by introducing it as a “Money Bill” and thereby shielding it from the “Rajya Sabha Scrutiny” and abdicating “Parliamentary Democracy”. The only thing more disturbing than this “Negative Precedent” is the inaction and silence on the part of Hon’Ble President of India and Supreme Court of India. There is no reason why Aadhaar Project has not been declared “Unconstitutional” by the Supreme Court of India so far. Further, there would be no reason why Supreme Court of India would not declare the Aadhaar Bill as Unconstitutional and Void now when the intentions of Indian Government are very clear.

In these turbulent times, it is imperative that we need “Public Discourses” and “Debates” rather than shunning the same. We have been managing few web resources where we discuss critical issues about Indian Politics. We have rejuvenated one such Blog with the new title Internet, Mobile And Social Media Censorship In India By Twitter, Facebook, Google, Etc. It is covering Censorship and E-Surveillance issues existing in India for long. With the changed Socio-Economic and Political situation in India, it is essential that critical debates about controversial issues like Digital IndiaAadhaarNational Intelligence Grid (NATGRID),Central Monitoring System (CMS)Internet Spy System Network And Traffic Analysis System (NETRA)E-Surveillance by Secret Wires, etc are discussed at this platform.

The worst scenario has been adopted by Narendra Modi Government by combining the Digital India and Aadhaar Projects. This has made Digital India the biggest Digital Panopticon of Human history. Similarly, the Government has clubbed Aadhaar with virtually everything ranging from Digital Locker, Passports, Birth and Marriage Certificates, Property dealings, Employment related issues, Public Distribution System (PDS), LPG, Scholarships, Domicile Certificate, Income Certificates, seeding with Bank accounts for Pensions, etc. This is despite the fact that Supreme Court of India has specifically ordered that Aadhaar is not mandatory for availing Public Services.

There is no second opinion that successive Indian Government(s) have been engaging in Illegal and Unconstitutional E-Surveillance. India is one of the few Countries where Phone Tapping is done without a “Court Warrant”. Further, with the introduction of Central Monitoring System of India, the scope for Judicial intervention has been absolutely ruled out.Cell Site Location based E-Surveillance is rampant in India with no regard to Privacy of those affected by the same. There is no Constitutional Lawful Interception Law in India as on date. To make the matter worst, we have no dedicated Privacy Law and Data Protection Laws(PDF) in India as on date. Any E-Surveillance Disclosure by companies like Vodafone is dumped inside the so called “Investigation Files” that are either not conducted at all or are not made public.

However, despite this some public spirited Citizens share their critical views and suggestions upon news websites, Blogs, Social Media platforms, etc. At this stage, Indian Government engages in “Censorship” of online contents in collaboration and active support of such Social Media websites. Technology Companies like Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, etc have been complying with Indian Government’s demands for Censorship and Data details form time to time. This is the reason why we have redesigned this Blog on Censorship and E-Surveillance. We have also opened dedicated page titled Censorship under Digital India that would report Censorship incidences by Social Media websites and Technology Companies from time to time. We are also managing the exclusive Techno Legal Centre Of Excellence For Protection Of Human Rights In Cyberspace (CEPHRC) that would support this Blog and other Public Interest oriented issues. Please visit us again for more details and articles on E-Surveillance and Censorship in India from time to time.