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

Sunday, August 7, 2016

10270 - After years of using Aadhaar in schemes, the government seeks the informed consent of beneficiaries - Scroll.In

Published Jul 23, 2016 · 12:30 pm.   

Like Aadhaar enrolment, giving consent too has become mandatory if beneficiaries of several government schemes want to be paid.

Image credit:  Supriya Sharma

Have crores of beneficiaries of the government’s welfare schemes given the state their informed consent for the use of their biometrics-based Aadhaar details to avail of benefits under these schemes?

Eight months after the Centre said in the Supreme Court that it would use Aadhaar only on a voluntary basis in its welfare schemes, the government has started a concerted drive to secure the informed consent of beneficiaries for the use of their biometrics like fingerprints and iris scans to establish and authenticate their identity.

Several states have made payments through bank accounts linked with Aadhaar numbers mandatory. And like enrolment in Aadhaar, giving consent too has effectively become mandatory for beneficiaries of government schemes who want to continue to be paid.

Last year, while the Supreme Court was hearing petitions challenging the validity of the Aadhaar project, the Modi government argued in favour of the biometrics database saying that Aadhaar was already being used to pay 1 crore Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme beneficiaries and over 30 lakh pensioners.

But ministry of rural development data shows that till June, only 4.1 lakh, or less than 1% of 10.7 crore workers under this rural employment scheme, had consented to Aadhaar-based payments.

Consent for Aadhaar-based payments for MNREGA workers till June 10, 2016. (Source: Ministry of Rural Development.)

Consent camps
On June 10, JS Mathur, secretary, ministry of rural development, wrote to chief secretaries of states asking for all the details of workers under the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme to be connected to their Aadhaar-linked bank accounts.

The letters note that in 13 of 35 states and union territories, including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Assam, not even 1% of over 4.8 crore active rural employment scheme workers had given their consent for Aadhaar-based payments.

The Union ministry has asked the states to organise camps to obtain the workers’ signatures to this end. This request comes years after the government started using the Aadhaar biometrics database while making payments to such workers.

Informed consent
The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies Benefits and Services) Act, which was passed in March, also requires requesting agencies, government and private entities, to obtain informed consent of residents before using their Aadhaar data for authenticating purposes.
“We have asked states to get workers' consent for seeding their Aadhaar numbers in the MNREGA database at the block level, and for banks to do the same for linking bank accounts to Aadhaar numbers,” said Amarjeet Sinha, additional secretary in the ministry of rural development.

Sinha said the ministry was doing so following last October’s Supreme Court order that Aadhaar may be used to make Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme payments on a voluntary basis, or only for those who opt for it.
However, in October 2015, when the orders came, the Aadhaar details of 2.36 crore workers had already been seeded (linked) to their bank accounts even though not even a fraction of them had given their informed consent. It is this that is retrospectively being corrected through consent camps. In the last two months, state governments have obtained the consent of 1.7 crore workers.

In states
For instance, in Andhra Pradesh, there are over 80.1 lakh active workers under the rural employment scheme, none of whom had given consent for Aadhaar payments till June. In the last two months, the government has obtained consent from 1.2 lakh workers.

“We have been making Aadhaar-based payments to MNREGA workers since three years, and are now taking their consent,” said an official in Andhra Pradesh’s rural development department.

The official added: “Right now, workers get paid through both bank and post office accounts, but after August, they will only be paid through Aadhaar-linked bank accounts, so if they do not sign these forms, they will not be able to get wages easily.”

A consent form.
Ministry of rural development officials say they have not made Aadhaar mandatory for people to get paid for work done under the central government’s jobs scheme.
But on the ground, rural workers say that they are unable to apply for work under the scheme unless they they enrol and link their details to their Aadhaar numbers.
James Herenj, a social worker at the Narega Sahayata Kendra in Latehar in Jharkhand, spoke of the reality on the ground.
“The Centre is pressuring block level officials to show higher levels of ‘seeding’, or linking of beneficiaries bank accounts to Aadhaar,” said Herenj. “District officials threaten block officials with penalties if they do not show this as cent percent, so they delete the MNREGA jobcards of workers who don't have Aadhaar number.”
Herenj said they were other complications too. “In some cases, even if a worker has Aadhaar, if her Aadhaar number has been ‘seeded’ into her parents' job card, if she marries or makes a separate jobcard later, the computer rejects them as a duplicate entry.”
The social worker added that in some instances workers with more than one bank account were finding it difficult to find out in which bank accounts their payments were going into, and complained that banks turned them away when they tried to enquire from them.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.