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


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.


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Saturday, April 22, 2017

11094 - The larger question on privacy needs to be settled by court: Mukul Rohatgi- Live Mint

Last Modified: Fri, Apr 21 2017. 01 00 AM IST


Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi says the Unique Identification Authority of India will ensure secure systems to store Aadhaar data and that one instance of breach is not a cause of worry
Apurva Viswanath

Mukul Rohatgi says privacy concerns are sufficiently taken care by the Aadhaar law now. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

In 2015, as the Supreme Court debated the legality of a centralized biometric-based database of India’s 1.3 billion citizens, a lawyer arguing against Aadhaar dramatically held up a newspaper report before the judges, pointing out that the government’s top law officer, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, had said Indians do not enjoy a fundamental right to privacy.

It was his (Rohatgi’s) job to convince the court to allow the use of Aadhaar for welfare schemes. After the first hiccup, when the court barred the government from making Aadhaar mandatory for government benefits, Rohatgi secured the right to use it limitedly for five flagship schemes of the government. The court also allowed continuous enrolment of more citizens in the Aadhaar database. He now weighs in on the issue.

Is the Indian government opposed to its citizens’ entitlement to a fundamental right to privacy?
In the hearings, I have only cited the stand of the Supreme Court on extending to the right to privacy the status of a fundamental right. I do not want to put it on either extreme. The determination has to be done by the court. However, privacy concerns are sufficiently taken care by the Aadhaar law now.
On privacy, Aadhaar is not to snoop. It is not to get into people’s bedrooms. Over one billion have voluntarily consented to collection of biometrics.

More cases about protection of privacy are cropping up, like the case seeking government’s intervention in Whatsapp-Facebook data sharing. Why not take a stand on this? (The Indian Supreme Court in April set up a Constitution bench of five judges to determine if WhatsApp’s user data sharing policy is violative of citizens’ right to privacy. The government has also agreed to regulate over-the-top content through its national telecom regulatory body.)

The larger question on privacy needs to be settled by the court. Till then, one cannot comment on secondary concerns on privacy.


Why does India need Aadhaar?
Aadhaar is to weed out fake, bogus beneficiaries of government schemes and fix leakages in social welfare schemes. Subsidies must reach the rightful beneficiaries and not a ghost identity. This is not only helping the government save money but also helps people of this country. Before Aadhaar, the government lost Rs50,000 crore-to-Rs1 trillion annually due to these leakages.

There are also security concerns for putting Aadhaar in place. You see, anybody can walk into this country and it is increasingly difficult to keep a check on such entrants. Using Aadhaar at airports, borders will help in keeping this country safe.

How does that (linking Aadhaar to welfare services) comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling that directed the government to not make Aadhaar compulsory for benefits?

They are entitled to claim benefits by showing other proof of identity accepted by the government, provided they go and apply for an Aadhaar card. Enrolment is not an issue at all; there is a camp in every nook and corner of the country. They are even coming home to enrol citizens.


Do you think the law answers critics of Aadhaar, although many have questioned the manner in which the new law was passed and have challenged it before the court?
One of the issues that the critics of Aadhaar had raised was that there was no law backing the scheme. The new legislation takes care of this. A money bill deals with the government’s spending from the consolidated fund of India. Political parties in opposition have challenged it in court, and we are opposing it. All issues, incidental or allied to spending from the consolidated fund of India, will require Aadhaar.

How is the government going to respond to increasing complaints and fear of data breaches?
The Unique Identification Authority of India will ensure secure systems to store Aadhaar data. There are statutory bodies of the government to take care of this. One instance of breach... is not a cause of worry.
Collection of biometrics is not unique to Aadhaar. If you visit the United Arab Emirates, an iris scan is performed at immigration. Many countries ask for fingerprints.