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


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.


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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

10878 - Aadhaar apprehensions - Hindu BusinessLine



Without a robust cybersecurity ecosystem in place, its transformative potential can be lost

Ever since the unique identification scheme, known as Aadhaar, was first introduced in 2009, naysayers have been warning of the potential danger from hackers and cyber thieves. While the wizards of this project have been downplaying these concerns, recent incidents related to the Aadhaar database point to some clear and present danger. Take for example the recent case of two bank business correspondents who are being investigated for alleged unauthorised authentication and impersonation by illegally storing biometric data. The Unique Identification Authority of India has temporarily halted all Aadhaar-based transactions by the two entities after it was discovered that one individual was found to have performed 397 biometric transactions between 14 July 2016 and 19 February 2017. 

Earlier, a Gurgaon-based think tank group demonstrated how the Aadhaar number can still be verified with stored biometric finger impression without the card-holder physically being present. These are not isolated incidents. 

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance (SCoF), chaired by Yashwant Sinha, in its December 2011 report on the scheme raised several objections. One of the issues flagged in this report was the absence of a national data protection law. It is now a proven fact that connecting any strategic infrastructure to the internet makes it vulnerable to security threats, and most government systems are extremely vulnerable to hacking, data leakages and hijacking. Even some of the technologically advanced countries such as the US have not managed to make its systems foolproof. The identities of approximately 15 million US residents are used fraudulently each year with financial losses totalling upwards of $50 billion.

Undoubtedly, the Centre has noble intentions with regard to the Aadhaar card scheme. It is still largely viewed as a positive step as it has helped plug leakages by targeting subsidies. For example, the Aadhaar-linked Direct Benefit Transfer scheme for reducing leakages in LPG subsidies has been widely acknowledged as a success. While Aadhaar may be relevant at a time when the Centre is pushing digital payments and online transactions, it can only be truly effective in digital transactions only if it offers users a highly secure platform to carry out financial transactions. Aadhaar’s biometric technology can be a double-edged sword: while it has the potential to nip fraud and leakages, it is also fraught with the risk of perpetuating these. A breach of public faith in Aadhaar will jeopardise efforts to streamline India’s welfare payouts.

Therefore, it is important that the Centre ushers in a cyber security renaissance that promotes cyber hygiene and a security-centric culture. This will not only ensure the success of Aadhaar but also help facilitate other schemes under Digital India, including cashless payment applications such as the recently launched BHIM initiative. As India increasingly relies on electronic information storage and communication, it is imperative that laws around data security and information protection are quickly put in place. Otherwise, technological progress would have only provided us with more efficient tools for fraud.