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.


Friday, May 20, 2016

10012 - On Maneka Gandhi saying that online trolling of women will be treated as violence - Medianama


By Sneha Johari ( @thejunebug ) on May 19, 2016

Update, 19 May: The home ministry plans to release a portal named Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) under the Nirbhaya Fund, developed jointly by the Home and Women & Child Development Ministry to let Indian women post complaints about online harassment, reports DNA

The report adds that Home Ministry’s cyber cell will monitor the portal and act on complaints. The CCPWC scheme will cost Rs 244.32 crore. Additionally, the Home Ministry has roped in NASSCOM and the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) to formulate guidelines for online matrimonial sites.

Earlier, 18 May: Maneka Gandhi, the Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development, has stated that online abuse and trolling of women in India should be treated as violence against them, reports NDTV. Gandhi gave an example of women in online matrimonial ads who were “targeted with dirty calls late at night, harassed and stalked.”

She said that companies running online matrimonial services “refused to cooperate” and she had to route this request through the Telecom Ministry to “protect women and reveal details of abusers.” Gandhi also added that she has suggested that the Home Ministry create a department to deal with online attacks against women.

Currently, there’s no further information on this and we’ll be tracking this issue to understand the government’s definitions of trolling (harassment notwithstanding) and the department.
Note that in November last year, the government had set up a five member panel from different ministries to draft guidelines which would set up norms for matrimonial websites. The norms would require users to submit a valid ID proof like passport or a voter identity card to sign up on such websites. The guidelines were yet to be finalised at that point of time and the government would notify the IT ministry and incorporate it under the IT Act.

Aadhaar for verification: In December 2014, the women and child ministry had suggested that Aadhaar should be used to authenticate profiles on matrimonial sites. At the time it was reported that the ministry was concerned of increasing instances of women being cheated while looking for grooms as users would create multiple profiles.

MediaNama’s Take

Nikhil’s view: We’ve heard that the government is considering bringing 66A back, and wonder if this is a ruse to essentially bring in a law that restricts speech online. Trolling is a word loosely used to include even irritating someone online. The Wikipedia definition:
In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.

This would bring it in conformity with the broad definition of what 66A used to be:
a) any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or
b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will, persistently makes by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,
c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.
Note that in March last year, the Supreme Court struck down Section 66A of the IT Act, 2008, calling it unconstitutional, and when it did that, it explained the grounds on the basis of which restrictions on speech (including online) are applicable: specifically, that there are “three aspects of freedom of expression: discussion, advocacy and incitement. Only when discussion and advocacy reach the level of incitement, is Article 19 (2) (of the Constitution of India), which puts reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech, applicable.
Justice Nariman also said that Section 66A makes no distinction on whether the communication has any impact on public order. The clear and present danger test and the public disorder test ought to be a prerequisite. What may be offensive to one may not be to another, what may be annoying to one may not be to another. That is what renders 66a unconstitutional and vague. “Governments come and governments go, the law persists. And the law must be judged on its own merit. 66A is invalid and it cannot be saved even if the government says it wont abuse the law,” he added.
I doubt that trolling meets the 66A test, and perhaps the phrase that Ms Gandhi was looking for, is “abuse”, which is a whole different debate.

A female take (from Sneha): I’m not sure of the impact Gandhi is attempting to have on online trolling as such. I see two sides to it: A measure like setting up a team to block or report internet trolls in this case, in India, might have a counter-effect on the online population leading to even more online harassment, given the increasing penetration of smartphones and the internet. (Or we could talk about the ignorance shown by the government when it comes to matters of the internet, where also, hate speech is not defined.)

The other side is, and by and large I can already hear a resounding “No!” within, it might make Indian females on the internet feel slightly safer, given that they can’t feel physically safe in their own cities. It would be interesting to see what the ministry comes up with and I hope it asks for a public consultation as well before it formulates a specific order.