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

11051- Unverified Aadhaar cards could simply defeat its purpose - Asia Net


By Naina Khedekar | 01:24 PM Thursday, 13 April 2017

Quick Summary
  • Aadhaar has a whopping biometric database with over 1.13 billion registrations.
  • Out of these, 100 crore entries are unverified.
  • Linking such entries to subsidies, elections, and so on could be dangerous. 
To ensure it isn’t yet another ID card, the Aadhaar project came with a purpose. Today, it sits on probably the world's largest biometric database, and majority of which hasn’t even been verified, leading to far-reaching ramifications.

When Aadhaar was proposed, it was touted to serve as a citizen identity card and a means to help the poor of the country claim subsidies and other benefits. This would mean removing middlemen and eventually the corruption that lingers between subsidies and the poor. Despite the hordes of identity cards issued, it was seen as a card for citizens, especially those who find it difficult to open a bank account, get a loan owing to lack of documents.

Over the past few months, Aadhaar has been getting the required legal backing to be enforced as a mandatory document. From elections to downloading government survey maps and proposed mandatory linking to bank accounts and mobile services, it is in the process to become an integrated part of our lives. 

But before the government sets out on mandatory linking it to elections, banks and so on, there is enough proof highlighting incidents of issuing fake Aadhaar cards. While we want to keep up our Aadhaar project, which essentially yet debatably is the right stepping stone in the digital era. We’ve seen similar projects deployed by countries like Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia, but there is no denying that fake Aadhaar cards exist and the implications could be dangerous, to say the least.

As of March 2017, India's identification project has captured demographic and biometric data offering a unique 12 digit number for over 1.13 billion registered users. This makes it majority of the population.  

Issuing fake cards doesn't just defeat its purpose, but it could mean far-reaching ramifications. According to a Tribune India, a Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist managed to get a fake Aadhaar issued by authorities, which came to light when he was arrested last year. Reportedly, now a list of immigrants had been made to avoid illegal issuing of Aadhaar cards.

Today, we have the biggest biometric database in the world, however, little has been done in understanding the nitty gritties for creating an identity related resident database that began back in 2006-07. In a poor state of affairs, the initial steps taken were wobbly as the new rules were passed only years later in 2016.

The new rule requires verified database, rather than randomly stocking resident data. Now, prior to the Aadhaar Act 2016, there have been about 100 crore accounts that are unverified - 40 crore between the period of 2014-2016 and 60 crore prior to that. The issue was first raised by MP Rajeev Chandrashekar highlighting concerns over the 100 crore registrations that do not come under the new Aadhaar Act passed in 2016 and have been issued without efficient verification.  

He has pointed out at the need of making UIDAI accountable. For instance, transparency of sort, at how the database is being handled, errors and so on. Adding to the privacy and misuse issues, he has also demanded enhanced protection of a users' data.

So, the key question is – what about the verification of these 100 crore registrations, and whose responsibility it is to weed out the fake ones from the genuine.

According to a Tribune India report, a Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist managed to get a fake Aadhaar issued by authorities, which came to light when he was arrested last year. Soon, a list of immigrants had been made to avoid illegal issuing of Aadhaar cards. And, this could be rather just one of the many incidents that may have gone unnoticed. There has also been a sting operation by CobraPost revealing how fake Aadhaar cards are issued for a paltry sum. Need we say more! There are enough reports to show issuing of fake Aadhaar cards is rampant. 

If Aadhaar is to be the proof of identity of an Indian citizen, there should a system in place to monitor those issuing it. The proliferating small agencies should have been vetted against malpractices. Such acts could easily compromise the sovereignty of India. UIDAI has already admitted to have cancelled 3.8 lakh fake Aadhaar cards, but there is still the need to lookup at agencies that are creating a menace. 

There is a lot of cleaning up to be done, but the question is, are enough measures being taken to do so?

Disclaimer: Rajeev Chandrasekhar is the chairman of Jupiter Capital, which has investments in Asianet News Network Private Limited that publishes  Asianet Newsable.