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 15, 2016

10435 - Apple, Google poised for a clash with Modi government over phone encryption - Economic Times

By Saritha Rai, Bloomberg | Sep 14, 2016, 01.07 PM IST

A few weeks ago, government officials invited executives from Apple, Microsoft, Samsung to discuss embedding Aadhaar into their technology.

India's relationship with the global tech industry has become increasingly fraught. This year alone, the government has banned Facebook's free web service and declined to exempt Apple from local sourcing rules and open its own stores. Now India could force companies to use technology cooked up in a government-funded lab. 

The initiative is part of a national biometric identity program called Aadhaar. Millions of Indians use fingerprint and iris-scan authentication to access a range of public and private services that now includes banking. Failure to join the effort could limit the tech industry's access to a vast and growing market, but companies like Apple and Google are expected to resist opening up their phones and operating systems to the Indian registration, encryption and security technology. 

"There will be lots of pushing and shoving by the technology companies," says Neeraj Aggarwal, managing director of the Boston Consulting Group in India. "It will be a battle of ecosystems, and companies will do their best to hold on to their own." 

A few weeks ago, government officials invited executives from Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google to a meeting to discuss embedding Aadhaar encryption into their technology. None of the companies will comment on what transpired at the gathering -- and Apple didn't show up at all. 

Ajay Bhushan Pandey, who runs the Unique Identification Authority of India and convened the meeting, says the industry representatives listened politely and were non-committal. But Pandey says he was frank about the government's position, telling his visitors: "Go to your headquarters and work this out so that we can have Aadhaar-registered devices." 

India's biometric identity program is something of a path breaker. While the Federal Bureau of Investigation and US VISIT visa program use similar technology to respectively track criminals and foreign visitors, no other country has taken the concept as far as India. 

In September of 2010, it began collecting citizens' biometric and demographic data, storing them in a centralized database and issuing a unique 12-digit ID number to every man, woman and child. Aadhaar is the world's largest such program; as of April this year more than one billion people had signed up, or about 83 percent of the population. 

Designed in part to help thwart criminals who siphon off billions of dollars in welfare payments each year, Aadhaar helps authenticate millions of poor citizens so the government can send money in lieu of food, fuel and fertilizer subsidies, as well as pension and guaranteed work payments directly to their bank accounts electronically. 

Civil liberties and citizens' groups say the program violates Indians' privacy; others warn that Aadhaar's servers could be hacked and compromise national security. But the government is moving ahead and in recent weeks has rolled out a digital payments infrastructure built on top of the program. The idea is to bring financial services to a nation where millions have never set foot inside a bank, let alone opened an account. 

As India's billion-user Aadhaar jigsaw fits into place, the government plans to ramp up and add a host of other services including education and health care. 

"We are doing 5 million authentications daily, and with Aadhaar-compliant devices that number will grow exponentially," Pandey says. "There is a solid business case for technology companies to enable Aadhaar services." 

Indians would still log into their smartphones using the manufacturer's biometric authentication -- typically a fingerprint or iris scan. But once they access Aadhaar using the government's encryption, the likes of Apple and Google would lose the ability to track users online, forfeiting the ability to mine that data to sell ads or other products and services. (Indian law, by the way, bars the government from collecting or using customer data.) 

Tech companies will probably also object to allowing the government to install its authentication software on their gadgets for fear of security breaches and hacking attacks. Apple has strenuously resisted the US government's demands to build a back door into its operating system so law enforcement can track the movements of terrorists and criminals. "There should be clarity and provisions about security," says Amresh Nandan, a research director at Gartner Inc. 

On the other hand, foreign tech companies could be at a competitive disadvantage if they don't go along because Indian companies like Flipkart, Paytm and Snapdeal are already making their digital payments and services compatible with Aadhaar. "Once the Aadhaar system grows to scale, technology companies will find it tricky to prevent people from using it," Aggarwal says. 

Samsung is the only global device-maker currently making an Aadhaar-friendly device, a tablet that's reportedly selling well. Microsoft is said to be working with the government to link Skype with the Aadhaar database so the video calling service can be used to make authenticated calls. Fresh from battles with Washington over encryption, Apple, Google and other US tech companies are less likely to compromise without a fight. 

For now, Indian authorities are asking politely. That could change. Earlier this year New Delhi mandated that, starting in 2017, all mobile phones sold in India must have a panic button women can push when attacked. Nandan Nilekani, who co-founded the leading tech services firm Infosys Ltd. and helped create the national authentication program, says the government could do exactly the same with Aadhaar.