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


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


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.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

10518 - Enormity of Aadhaar data does not add to its vulnerability: Symantec’s Ilias Chantzos - Indian Express

If we all agree that data is valuable then it should be no surprise that data is regulated.

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | Published:October 8, 2016 12:43 pm

If we all agree that data is valuable then it should be no surprise that data is regulated.

With over a billion Aadhaar numbers allotted to Indian citizens, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is the largest national identification number project in the world. For the same reason, this centralised data base is also one that needs to be secured all the time.

Ilias Chantzos, Senior Director Government Affairs EMEA-APJ at Symantec, however, says the enormity of this data set has not added to the vulnerability in anyway. “In the end it is all about finding the right balance and making sure you have the right protections in place while offering the flexibility and advantages of digital usage on the other hand. We have to accept that identity is going more and more online, as you see with banks, and it is a natural evolution. So don’t view this as an additional vulnerability,” he explains.

Any standard for protecting public data, he says, needs to take into consideration local context as well. “There is a school of thought that argues the need for a sector specific standard for finance or health. This is the American way. But the European way is horizontal, to have a more encompassing standard irrespective of a sector or area of business. And these two models to seem to compete,” explains Chantzos. He represents Symantec before government bodies, national authorities and international organisations advising on public policy issues with particular regard to IT security and data risk management and availability.

“Depending on the trade flows and data flows countries like India will be pulled into these two directions. In the end every country is going to have something that fits its idiosyncrasies, but it would have to be somehow compatible to do business with other major trading partners,” he adds.

Chantzos says the right approach will be to put emphasis on individual data protection, because “that is where the value is”. He adds: “If we all agree that data is valuable then is should be no surprise that data is regulated.”

But governments often end up adding more context to individual data, without permission from them. But this is again a call that has to be taken at a local level, he says. “There needs to be information self determination, but even that is subject to certain restrictions. For instance, the institution doing business with you, like a bank, might object,” he explains, adding that there can be two ways to tackle this: “either decide on direct authentication or opt for crunching all the data to draw a conclusion about the context”.

“In the end you have to manage the identity and the use case will determine how you do it. But in such a case we will need to look at even the potential use cases of aadhaar as well,” 

Chantzos says, underlining how when the GSM standards were set up no one would have imagined used of mobile phones for banking.

Chantzos says there is a growing realisation that since we are all connected these days, the impact of a cyber incident will be much more. 

“There is greater realisation now that in the information society there is value in the data and data economy is why you see more attacks on the infrastructure that supports it,” he says, adding that in that sense India is no different from the rest of the world. “On one hand you see a lot of effort from the government in the UID project, but at the same time the challenge to share this information.”

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