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.


Monday, April 3, 2017

10938 - Saving Private Kumar – any Aadhaar to the fear? - Your Story



28 MARCH 2017

What’s needed is a wider debate on privacy in the digital age.

Every time you consume the digital, you leave a clear footprint – whether it is surfing or transacting on the internet on your mobile, or swiping plastic at an ATM, or at a point-of-sale machine when you shop. Banks always have a wealth of data on you, which they now want to mine clinically to get a ‘full view’ to cross-sell or ‘understand your needs better’.

They also 'pool' this information at the systemic level with credit-scoring firms and, at times, also share this with all kinds of other vendors. Then just about every other e-commerce platform 'minds you' these days.

If all of this is going on anyway, what then is the fuss about Aadhaar and privacy?

With Aadhaar, the fear is the state can profile and invade your privacy in a manner that private firms can’t. And track you like a migratory bird. It’s debatable if the state is any superior on this front.

Just recall the outcry in 2014 when file-sharing app Dropbox went ahead to appoint Condoleezza Rice—the former US Secretary of State—to its Board of Directors. It would have gone unnoticed, but in a 2005 interview, Rice had justified the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance programme. It’s not to suggest here that Dropbox was doing or intended to do anything of the sort (there’s no way of knowing all this), but if it wanted to, it could well have gone ahead with it – with or without Rice. So too can any cloud-storage company whose services you now consume.

The point is both the state and private firms can snoop on you if they want to. What’s needed is a wider debate on privacy and the course of remedial action in case of abuse or breach in the digital age.

Financial inclusion, identity, and privacy
Target 16.9 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seeks to secure “legal identity for all, including 'birth registration' by 2030. And hence the moves to steal legal identification systems -- civil registries, national IDs, population databases, voter registries, social transfer databases, travel documents, and just about anything else that says something about you—who you are and what you do—on record.

But is such detailed profiling needed?
The `Principles on Identification for Sustainable Development: Toward the Digital Age’ (World Bank and the Centre for Global Development) notes some 1.5 billion people in the developing world lack proof of legal identity. That the 'identification gap' is a serious obstacle to participation in political, economic, and social life. Without a secure and trustworthy way to prove your identity, you may be unable to exercise the range of human rights set out in international laws and conventions.
A lack of identification also makes it difficult to open a bank account, vote, obtain formal employment, access education, healthcare, receive a social transfer, buy a SIM card, or seek legal redress. And weak identification systems lead to difficulties in administration, planning, and service delivery, including tax collection, social programmes, response to emergencies, and security in general.

So, inclusive development needs a sustained effort to address the world’s identification gap.

The trouble is, if you don’t have strong data protection laws, it can reduce trust and undermine individual rights to privacy, and consent regarding the use of their personal information. In some cases, they may put vulnerable groups at serious risk of harm. And in an age where corporations—home-grown and multinational—influence states, or work closely with them, making a distinction over who holds the keys to your data is misplaced. So why single out Aadhaar?

(Image credit: Aadhaar Card Kendra)