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

11047 - ‘Aadhaar robust; the poor have no complaints about it’ - The Hindu


APRIL 13, 2017 00:00 IST


Minister says the Centre is enforcing UID under a proper mandate of law, with due regard to privacy and confidentiality
Union Minister for Law and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad tells The Hindu that nobody is being denied any benefit for not having Aadhaar and fears on that count are misplaced.

Why is Aadhaar being made compulsory for availing benefits when there is no legal compulsion for it?
Let me clarify. Under Section 7 of the Act, no poor person shall be denied the benefit of subsidy at all. The only thing is that the person either should have an Aadhaar or should have applied for one; also, alternative means of identification will be available and acceptable through which the person can access all benefits. So nobody is being denied any benefit that might accrue to them. The poor are not complaining as they are getting benefits by direct benefits transfer in their bank accounts. The government has saved Rs. 49,000 crore under various schemes by plugging leakages. There are 113 crore Aadhaar enrolments out of a population of 125 crore; 83.7 crore adults are enrolled, 43.5 crore bank accounts have been opened, 16.97 crore LPG connections and 71.51 crore ration cards have been done using the system. The use of Aadhaar is transformative for good governance and it is a robust system. The second part of the answer is: Can we deny that fake bank accounts are not being set up, that money laundering is not taking place earlier? What is important is that there is a digital identity kept under safe and secure conditions and this will verify identity, prevent leakages, and end duplication.

What is the need for other services to link to Aadhaar? Like banks and for filing tax returns?
Do you have a voter identity card, a passport? You have no problem with these marks of identity, but you have a problem with Aadhaar. What does Aadhaar contain? Under Section 2(j), one is core biometric, that is iris and fingerprint. Second is demographic information: name, date of birth, and address, but shall not include race, religion, caste, tribe, ethnicity, language, income or medical history. It is minimum information, optimal utilisation. Under Section 29(2), no core biometric information under this Act shall be shared with anyone for any reason whatsoever; my information cannot be shared even with my consent. The identity related information collected under this Act can only be shared as specified by the Act and its regulations. The regulation clearly enjoins that you will only use for the purpose you are collecting it for. The Aadhaar system is completely insulated for the purpose for which the information is sought. For instance, we have 113 crore Aadhaar numbers, they just confirm the identity. The Aadhaar system does not know the purpose for which it is being sought. The requisitioning authority will only use it for this purpose, it is completely encrypted, and if anyone uses it for unauthorised purposes, they can be punished for three years, and if a company violates this law, Rs. 10 lakh in compensation is to be awarded to the aggrieved. Till date, there is no leakage of data from the system. We have blacklisted 34,000 agencies till now.
Again, what is the need for linking Aadhaar with PAN cards or tax returns?

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his budget speech that out of a population of 125 crore, only 1.72 lakh file returns above Rs. 50 lakh, and shockingly only 25 lakh people show their income above Rs. 10 lakh. If the country has to grow, more people will have to come into the tax net. This linkage, therefore, will help in weeding out double-triple accounts, and combating money laundering. It is, therefore, good governance in an atmosphere of improving fiscals.

There are fears that operators doing the enrolments can leak data.

Operators are selected by a strict process, with the registrar of the State governments, the Centre and municipalities being involved. Operators have to first put in their own biometric to operate the system every time and the whole process is robust in terms of safety features. If anyone tries to fiddle with it, the system can help trace any attempts to tamper.

There are also fears of a burgeoning of a surveillance state.

Disclosure of information cannot be done for any reason other than national security. In that case, a joint secretary-level officer of the government of India specially designated for this purpose, shall record in writing the reasons for this. A high-level committee consisting of the Cabinet Secretary, the Secretaries of the Ministry of Law and the Information Technology Secretary will go into any oversight. And it is also open to legal challenge before a district judge, and no order shall be issued without a hearing.
This is tougher than the Supreme Court’s certified guidelines on tracking of phone calls given out in 1995. Core digital biometric information cannot be disclosed even by the person who owns it. General biometric information cannot be disclosed except for the purposes authorised, and those who do so are liable for prosecution. I know of cases where the police sought biometric information on certain people suspected to be involved in certain crimes and the UIDAI refused. Therefore, a very robust architecture for privacy is there in the system.

There is puzzlement over this government’s advocacy of Aadhaar after it opposed it when the previous government had gone ahead.
The previous government was enforcing Aadhaar by an executive order, which was one of the challenges before the Supreme Court, while we are doing this under a proper mandate of law with due regard to privacy and confidentiality. There is a United Nations report on Enabling Digital Identity that states that the Aadhaar system helped India save fuel subsidy of over $1 billion.

But the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s report says it was due to falling fuel prices and not Aadhaar.
I have responded to this in Parliament. A proper press statement was put out by the Petroleum Ministry that they surveyed 3 crore fake gas connections because of Aadhaar linkages. After DBT, the clamour for non-subsidised connections rose by 39%.

My information can’t be shared even with my consent ... Till date, there has been no data leakage