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 10, 2017

11010 - UIDAI chief responds to concerns over privacy, security and making Aadhaar mandatory for services - Tech First Post


By Aditya Madanapalle /  07 Apr 2017 , 09:45

Ajay Bhushan Panday, chief executive of the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) responded to concerns surrounding privacy of users, data breaches, and Aadhaar being made increasingly mandatory for government services in an exclusive interview with Prerna Baruah from CNBC TV18. A video of the interview, and the entire transcript, is available at Moneycontrol.

Noting that an Aadhaar identity has been provided to over 113 crore people from the launch of the program in 2010, Bhushan pointed out that the Aadhaar database is adequately secured and there has been no breach in the central database so far.

On 15 February, 2017, UIDAI filed a police complaint against Axis bank, Suvidha Infoserve and eMudhra over an attempted fraudulent authentication and impersonation with the Aadhaar system. Following reports of the attempted breach, the UIDAI reaffirmed that there has been no breach in the central Aadhaar database.

In the CNBC TV18 interview, Bhushan responded to concerns of data security, but did not address the issues surrounding data privacy. Bhushan pointed out the flawless track record of the UIDAI so far, saying “not a single case of data leak from the UIDAI, data breach from UIDAI, not a single case of identity theft or financial loss has been reported to us. So, this is the only thing that I would like to say and then the people should make a judgment whether Aadhaar is safe or not.”

On 22 March, 2017, A Medium post by the user St_Hill pointed out four major concerns with the Aadhaar program. One of the concerns raised that a simple search on Google revealed a number of databases that contained sensitive personal information, including bank accounts and Aadhaar numbers. Some of the databases were from .gov.in domains, which showed that various government web sites were leaking sensitive information they had collected.

Users on Reddit pointed out that many of the databases were being pulled, especially from Government owned web sites. There was no expectation of an official statement. A banner is up on the UIDAI web site reminding all agencies collecting Aadhaar information that it was illegal to make the information available on public portals. Bhushan pointed out that under the Aadhaar Act, it was an offence to publicly publish an Aadhaar number, and that publishing bank account numbers was an offense under the Income Tax act.


An example of a excel sheet available after a Google search, with information on underage students.

In the interview, Bhushan indicated some of the measures being taken, saying “So, that is what the government, last week, gave an advisory to all ministries of the central government and also the state government saying that please be vigilant, be respectful to the privacy of people and do not publish such data including Aadhaar, including bank account details and other things because we need to respect the privacy of the people whom you try to serve.”

                  The banner on the UIDAI site.

Another question raised was if a dedicated privacy bill has the potential to settle some of the concerns over database security. India has no dedicated laws for privacy, or the security of databases. Bhushan responded by pointing out that as far as the Aadhaar database was concerned, the necessary data protection laws were built into the Aadhaar Act itself.
“So, far as the Aadhaar Act is concerned, this whole privacy protection features have been inbuilt into the Aadhaar Act itself. For example Aadhaar Act Section 29 describes what privacy protection measures are there,” Bhushan said.

There were concerns of sensitive information being leaked from the collection agency itself. Bhushan said that, “At the time of collection of Aadhaar number and biometric that agency has to disclose the purpose for which Aadhaar number is being collected. Then this Aadhaar number can be used only for the purpose which was disclosed to that resident. In case if there is any violation then again it is a serious offence under the Aadhaar Act.”

VLE of @CSCegov_ delivers #Aadhaar service to @msdhoni. Legendary cricketer's #Digital hook (shot). pic.twitter.com/Xe62Ta63An

@rsprasad @CSCegov_ is there any privacy left ??? Information of adhaar card including application is made public property!#disappointed

An overenthusiastic employee at an Aadhaar enrollment center publicly tweeted out sensitive information about cricketer MS Dhoni. The tweet with the sensitive information was subsequently retweeted by the IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. On 28 March 2017, cricketer MS Dhoni’s wife, Sakshi Dhoni pointed out on Twitter that the sensitive information had been publicly tweeted. The agency was subsequently blacklisted for ten years.

@rsprasad Sir personal information filled in form is leaked !

@rsprasad Sir I m talking about the application which was tweeted along with picture by @CSCegov_ pic.twitter.com/EHYwzfzfKR

Ravi Shankar Prasad responded by tweeting that “Thanks for bringing this to my notice. Sharing personal information is illegal. Serious action will be taken against this.” He went on to note that there was no breach in the Aadhaar database, and that Aadhaar is secure.

Bhushan was asked about the concerns by citizens and the opposition parties over Aadhaar being used for distribution of Government benefits. Bhushan pointed out that to continue receiving the benefits, it was either necessary to have an Aadhaar card, or enroll for one. The ruling in question says that the lack of an Aadhaar card is no reason for people not to receive benefits, till such time as they get one. The ruling also goes on to add that the government cannot be stopped from using Aadhaar card for documentation purposes, such as the filing of income tax returns.

As far as citizens having to hurry to enroll for Aadhaar within stipulated deadlines for PAN card, filing IT returns, and getting a driving license, Bhushan pointed out that UIDAI had nothing to do with the deadlines the various departments have come up with.

“So far as the use of Aadhaar is concerned, the use is governed by the rules of those user departments and we do not have any say in that. For example, if the income tax department has said that by such and such date, you should link your Aadhaar to the PAN card, it is the discretion or the jurisdiction of income tax department,” Bhushan said.

Essentially, the responses were rehashes of how the UIDAI and associated parties have been responding to criticisms from the very inception of the program. That the UIDAI database is adequately secured, and that there are no problems with the Aadhaar program, and that it has been a roaring success.
Fundamental problems with biometric security, such as marginal failure rate that can potentially affect tens of thousands in the population the size of India, and the potential for invasive surveillance by the government were not addressed. It is becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible for citizens to choose not to get an Aadhaar card.

A central database such as Aadhaar, no matter how well secured, is a high value target for malicious actors and state sponsored hackers. Indian laws will find it difficult to hold breaches from foreign sources accountable. Fundamental information security problems anyway cannot be solved by throwing harsh laws at them.

Publish date: April 7, 2017 9:45 am| Modified date: April 7, 2017 10:01 am