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.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

10356 - The evolution of identity - Live Mint

Last Modified: Wed, Aug 24 2016. 05 50 AM IST


We increasingly live our lives online with people we rarely meet in person and have different perspectives on privacy from what we had a decade ago

Rahul Matthan


Social media is now our primary means of communication, and our default response is to share news rather than keep it private.

For as long as I can remember, the most celebrated feature of the Internet has been its anonymity. We have always been told that we can say and do whatever we want on the Internet, without fear of reprisal because its decentralized architecture guarantees anonymity. This is the reason why it is virtually impossible to destroy free speech on the Internet. As a result, at least for those of us who have been online for a while, it has become almost second nature to treat privacy as our last line of defence against the apocalypse of stolen identity and data breach.

But stolen identity has never really been a problem in India—considering how cumbersome it is to establish identity in the first place. When was the last time you subscribed to a new service in India just by signing up? Each time you apply for something, your application has to be accompanied by multiple forms of ID—passport copies, electricity bills, copies of your driver’s licence—all personally signed at the bottom for additional corroboration. There is no one document capable of satisfactorily proving that you are who you say you are.

Thanks to Aadhaar, all this is about to change—and fast. All you now need to do to establish your identity is stare into an iris scanner-enabled smartphone for the few seconds it takes for your biometrics to be verified against the Aadhaar database. 

With a growing number of service providers adopting Aadhaar authentication to meet their KYC (know your customer) obligations, generating reams of paper every time you apply for a loan will become a thing of the past. We have already begun to witness an increasing number of tech start-ups based, almost entirely, on this identity infrastructure. When implemented at scale, these businesses will allow the technology revolution to percolate down to the grassroots, where the lack of a verifiable identity has so far prevented access.

Aadhaar is a strategic initiative designed to create an identity for people where none existed. But even without this sort of deliberate effort, the concept of anonymity itself is on the wane. 
Social media is now our primary means of communication, and our default response is to share news rather than keep it private. We increasingly live our lives online with people we rarely meet in person and have fundamentally different perspectives on privacy from what we had a decade ago.
But there is at least one section of the Internet that still revels in the anonymity that the Internet offers and thrives in its shadows. I am speaking of trolls who spend their time online haunting social media platforms and public fora, ready, at a moment’s notice, to spew out streams of bile at anyone who attracts their attention. There is no better example than them, of the deleterious consequences of anonymity on the Internet.

Trolls operate with no filters. Their accounts are anonymous, leaving them free to plumb depths of depravity that wouldn’t have been legal in real life. And since they use generic identities, they are impervious to Twitter bans, casually generating new accounts whenever their old ones are suspended.

A couple of weeks ago, things finally came to a head with the troll army. One of their more prominent members, Milo Yiannopoulos, took it upon himself to goad his followers into heaping racial abuse on one of the stars of the Ghostbusters reboot. The resulting tirade was so vile and vicious that Twitter permanently suspended his account.

Yet, for every silenced Milo, there are hundreds of anonymous accounts abusively rampaging around the Internet and lowering the overall standard of the discourse. Their presence on the Internet has made it a far less enjoyable place to be—and it seems that there is nothing social media platforms can do to stop them.

Last week, I put in an application for a verified Twitter account. Not from a misguided sense of stardom, but as a sort of identity experiment. The way I see it, applying for a verified account allows you to expressly opt out of anonymity by irrevocably linking your real-world profile to your online persona. In a world filled with anonymous accounts, the only users you will be able to trust are those with the courage to forgo anonymity.

I am hoping that eventually others will follow suit, as they become unwilling to put up with the cowardly behaviour of anonymous louts. In time, maybe we will be able to consciously choose to only engage with other verified accounts. And if enough of us tweeters get the blue tick, maybe we will finally be able to mute every unverified, vile-mouthed hate-monger who spews filth at us from behind a curtain of anonymity.
And then, perhaps we can bring some normalcy back to the Internet.

Rahul Matthan is a partner at Trilegal. Ex Machina is a column on the intersection of technology and law.