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.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

11046 - Benefits of Aadhaar are real but so are fears of biometric theft. Here's why - Economic Times


By Shelley Singh, ET Bureau | Apr 13, 2017, 06.31 AM IST
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Technology could make Aadhaar vulnerable. It needs to be further strengthened as devices can be compromised to extract biometrics if the target is high value.

Big Change:

As far as identification technology for citizens goes, nothing in the world rivals or even comes close to Aadhaar. The biometric-based (fingerprints and iris scans) 12-digit unique identity, now used by almost 1.1 billion Indians, is the most advanced of its kind. Jaijit Bhattacharya, partner, strategy and economics, KPMG India says, "India is at least a decade ahead of any other country in terms of using biometrics as an identity." 

The US and other countries use biometrics at immigration. Australia and Canada use biometric-based checks for border control. Israel also has Aadhaar-like biometric database of all Israeli residents. However, "no country is using biometric  based systems in as wide range of applications as India is envisaging," says Madhur Singhal, partner, Bain & Company. 

Plagued as India is by the menace of duplicate cards—random estimates suggest many citizens have anywhere from two to five driving licences, ration cards and the like—Aadhaar is the only one that evidently can't be duplicated. And the government is pushing Aadhaar for almost everything—marriage certificates, passports, pension claims, opening bank accounts and now for mobile connections and also to be linked to PAN cards. 



Neel Ratan, leader, government and public sector, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) India, says, "It makes immense sense to use Aadhaar to solve numerous problems in society—like targeting subsidies to right people. Ghost beneficiaries have disappeared with its use." 

Aadhaar is already being used in multiple places (see graphic). Its biggest benefit is universal and trusted verification of any individual and, as a result, Aadhaar is being used to acquire and authenticate customers faster in businesses like financial services or banking by doing eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer), eSigning of documents and so on. 

Besides, "the government is linking transfer of subsidies and other benefits through Aadhaar. This ensures transparency. Aadhaar will form the basis for digital storage of documents as well, very soon," says Singhal. Even as the Aadhaar world expands, there have been noises about why it is being made mandatory for multiple government schemes and how secure it is. 

The Supreme Court has already noted that not having Aadhaar cannot be the basis for denying services. Certain groups have questioned security and raised privacy concerns. Recently, even former cricket captain MS Dhoni's personal details were made public by a private Aadhaar enrolment centre, which has now been banned for 10 years. 

BIOMETRICS AREN'T IMPREGNABLE 
Aadhaar looks super hi-tech and impregnable today. But technology itself could make it vulnerable. Aadhaar needs to be further strengthened as devices can be compromised to extract biometrics if the target is high value. Bhattacharya says, "Also, biometrics such as fingerprints have been shown to be compromised by taking a high resolution picture of the fingers and converting it into fingerprint gloves." Be careful when you pose with the victory sign or a thumbs up 'like' sign before cameras. 


Fears of biometric theft are real and now the Japanese have reportedly started using skin-coloured gloves when being photographed so fingerprints can't be lifted, which is possible via high-resolution photographs taken from a distance of 10 metres or less. Researchers at Japan's National Institute of Informatics (NII) were able to copy fingerprints based on photos taken by digital cameras. 

"Just by casually making a peace sign in front of a camera, fingerprints can become widely available," NII researcher Isao Echizen was quoted in a January 11 post. He added that anyone can easily copy fingerprints. "Similarly, iris scans can be compromised. It's possible to wear silicone implants with someone else fingersprints to access, say bank account, if that's the only mode of access," says Bhattacharya. 

Adds Pradeep Dubey, Intel Fellow, Intel Labs director, parallel computing lab, "Biometrics has its own unique domain specific algorithms. The new trend is multi-modal— combine multiple forms of biometric features such as fingerprints, voice, iris and gait to improve recognition and resilience." 

Dubey believes the way out is to combine biometrics with non-biometric identification approaches, like one-time passwords. Some biometric hacking techniques are expensive and futuristic. Ratan feels "security fears are being overplayed." Eventually, though, nothing is 100% secure, particularly any computer-based system. 

Ratan says, "Aadhaar has the best possible security at present. Criticism comes from people who don't get any benefit from Aadhaar. Ask the poor and those who benefit and it's a different story."