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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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

9848 - Why WhatsApp is not wrong in keeping your texts a secret - Economic Times

By Mugunthan K, ECONOMICTIMES.COM | 15 Apr, 2016, 12.03PM IST

Messaging service app WhatsApp rolled out a security feature a few days ago that has left government agencies upset but security experts and privacy activists cheering. Whatsapp started end-to-end encryption for its over one billion users, which means no one, not even the makers of the messaging app can access your messages. 

End-to-end encryption will make reading the content impossible for anyone other than the sender and receiver. Some fear that terrorists may use the encryption for communicating and thus sparking off a encryption vs national security debate. For people who use the internet medium to communicate, transact, send and receive various type of digital content, it is very important to understand what this encryption means. 

What is encryption?
Encryption ensures that the data sent is read only by the intended user. Even if someone manages to intercept the data, they wouldn't be able to decipher the meaning of the content. The end-to-end encryption uses two keys, public and private keys. When you send a message to someone it is encrypted by a public key and the receiver uses a private key to unlock it. This process is guided by mathematical algorithm. 

Why do we need encryption?
Most of the data transfer in the internet like video, flash, pictures, banners and etc are done without encryption. Only a small part of internet traffic is related with communications, like email, messengers or private chats in social media services are encrypted. According to Firefox telemetry (measurement or collection of data) only ~40% of websites and ~65% of transactions used HTTPS, the secure internet transfer protocol, at the end of 2015. 

Safe shopping: When we carry out a transaction online, be it online shopping or paying bills or sending money, the websites should be encrypted or otherwise information sent over the internet can be seen by other people while it is in transit. 

Whistleblower protection: The recent Panama Papers leak is a simple example on how encryption can help whistleblowers and activists to act without any fear of persecution. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) says that trove of more than 11 million leaked files exposes people who use offshore companies to facilitate bribery, arms deals, tax evasion, financial fraud and drug trafficking. The person who leaked the documents to the German publication Suddeutsche Zeitung used encrypted chatting apps and emails to send the documents. 

Privacy: In the beginning of this month hackers released personal data of close to 50 million Turkish citizens containing their name, address, ID registration etc. While posting the data, the hackers highlighted the lack of encryption and cyber security features in the government's infrastructure. This comes at a time when our government is actively collecting information such as name, date of birth, fingerprints and iris scans for Aadhaar number. The leaks like above is a reminder for us to take encryption seriously. 

According to a Kaspersky Security Network report on local infection statistics for user computers in 2015, India was in the high risk (41-60%) category with a result of 59.7% . The report reflect threats that have penetrated computer systems by infecting files or removable media.

"In India, they are always under attack from different hackers groups, mostly Chinese. Right now we are investigating one of these attacks," said Aleks Gostev, Chief Security Expert, Global Research and Analysis Team of Kaspersky. He said that the end-to-end encryption will prevent attacks such as those known as Man in the Middle, where a malicious actor intercepts the email between the user and a server. But somehow that level of protection is rarely provided. 

Encryption vs national security
Recently Apple refused FBI's request to unlock the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter who killed 14 people. This sparked of a security . Since end-to-end encryption like that of WhatsApp will make surveillance very difficult, government agencies across the world have been insisting that they should be given a special access or backdoor entry. They argue that without such access national security would be undermined, but cyber security experts and privacy activists differ. 

Denelle Dixon-Thayer, Mozilla's Chief Legal and Business Officer, says, "We're starting to see proposed government policies andregulations that threaten to weaken encryption. In democracies across the world, states are seeking the authority and means, often labeled "backdoors" or "golden keys", to unlock and decode citizens' encrypted data in the name of law enforcement. Even if backdoors are initially designed for trusted actors, it's possible that they will get exploited by the bad guys, at which point we all become less secure. This is why it's so important that we as a society understand and engage with encryption." 

According to media reports, terrorists involved in the Belgium attack did not rely on encrypted services for communication, instead they used disposable phones. If this is true it shows that weakening encryption is not the solution. 

"Frankly questions about possible terrorists using encryption are out of reality. Terrorists were there before and they didn't use any encryption. They use phones, cars, laptops -should we try to limit using of all this stuff for the average people? No, we shouldn't. Moreover, I'm almost sure that governments already have all what they need (from a technical point of view) for solving this problem," says Aleks Gostev.