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.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

10967 - 'Show me even one example of data theft. Aadhaar is very, very secure' - TNN

'Show me even one example of data theft. Aadhaar is very, very secure'

Asha Rai | TNN | Apr 2, 2017, 12.00 AM IST

Aadhaar is in the eye of a storm following the government's decision to link it to everything from PAN cards to driving licences. Issues about privacy and data breach have been raised. In an interview, Nandan Nilekani , former chairman of UIDAI and the father of Aadhaar, tells Asha Rai that he is all for privacy and data protection but against the attempt to demonise Aadhaar. Excerpts: 

What's with the new momentum to Aadhaar? A host of new services are being linked to it. 

Initially Aadhaar played a big role in streamlining benefit delivery — LPG, kerosene, pensions, scholarships, etc — which proved to be very successful. For an investment of about Rs 8,000/9,000 crore on Aadhar infrastructure, the government has already saved Rs 50,000 crore by its own estimate, and every year you will get savings. These savings can then be used to give genuine people more benefits like the Ujjwala scheme to give subsidised LPG to the poor. What's happened in the last few weeks — they are a few unrelated things but they all came together. 

First, the Supreme Court asked the government to come up with a proper verification strategy for mobile SIM cards and the government's answer was Aadhaar e-KYC which the SC accepted. 

For PAN cards, the basic idea is to ensure everybody has one PAN card. Today, we have 25 crore PAN numbers issued and only four crore taxpayers. Some are genuine cards but many others are duplicate PANs. Today, because you have to give your PAN number for high-value purchase, you can use one PAN number to file your IT returns and another to buy expensive bags and jewellery. 

In the IPO allotment, people use multiple PANs to get more shares allotted. Aadhaar was used to clean up the beneficiary list for government schemes. Using the same argument, if it's linked, duplicate PANs will go away and tax evasion will reduce. The issue with driving licences is again their multiplicity. In all these cases, Aadhaar is being used to eliminate various kinds of fraud and misuse. 

Is the government running too fast with Aadhaar? 

The government is moving very purposefully. The fact also is that maturity has come. A brand new, sophisticated platform like this takes several years to reach maturity. When I stepped down we had 60 crore people with Aadhaar. Now there are 110 crore. 

Issues about privacy and data protection are a huge concern... 

Let's just step back a bit. Privacy is an all-encompassing issue because of the rapid rate of digitisation the world is seeing. Your smartphone has sensors, GPS and is generating more and more information about everything; voice-activated devices could also be recording your conversations. There's a profusion of CCTV cameras at malls, restaurants, ATMs recording your movements. We have a broader issue on how people retain their privacy in this world. I am all for a comprehensive data protection and privacy law. 

I wrote a letter to Dr Manmohan Singh in 2010 saying that we should start the process of creating this law. To single out and demonise Aadhaar when we have an across-the-board issue with mobile phones, voice recognition systems, CCTV cameras, Internet of things (IoT), I think that is a motivated campaign. 

International companies are coming here and collecting data. People are giving their data, agreeing to terms and conditions which are quite one-sided, that data is sitting in some unaccounted server abroad and is being shared with foreign governments. How come nobody is talking about that? 
If you really want a privacy law, let's look at the whole thing. Why are you singling out one thing? I will support any effort to create a modern privacy and data protection law. 

How secure is Aadhaar data? 

Very secure. The agency collecting the data has no access to it as it uses the most advanced encryption technology. The data packet is encrypted at source. Even before the data you have given is written onto the disk, it is encrypted. You can't open it. It's a very, very secure system. The level of encryption that Aadhaar has is way above any other system today, including in the private sector. Plus, security keeps getting enhanced.

Nobody has given me a single example of data theft from Aadhaar. Show me one. Let someone say they took out this packet and opened it. He can't. It's all this hand-waving kind of stuff. I can categorically say that it's the most secure system in India and among the most secure systems in the world.

Top Comment
I agree with Nandan sir's claim about data packet security and encryption at source . The concern is usage of this data while linking to Bank accounts and other PAN card as these interfacing systems ... Read More
Satish Kulkarni

Aadhaar is getting a lot of global attention... 
Yes. It has got a lot of appreciation. Globally, identity as a public good is now becoming a big topic. In the West, the identity business was privatised. That's a much more unsafe model than when a government issues an ID. Our colonised guys don't understand this!