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.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

11128 - The Aadhaar data breaches are the result of an irresponsible govt., but we pay the price for them - - First Post



By Anirudh Regidi /  24 Apr 2017 , 17:06

                                       Reuters

How many times is IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad going to reiterate that Aadhaar is safe? When will he, or the government, take responsibility for the shortcomings of Aadhaar and actually do something about it?

By now you’re all aware of the massive Aadhaar data leak courtesy of the Jharkhand Directorate of Social Security (JDSS). Granted, the actual biometric database itself still hasn’t been breached, and maybe it never will, but breaches of government and private Aadhaar databases are occurring with alarming regularity and almost always due to ignorance or negligence.

What’s being done about it? Nothing.

Every time a breach like this happens, someone issues a statement that the “database is safe” and imposes a ban on the entity that leaked the data. The most recent breach saw a 10-year ban being imposed on an entity for “accidentally” tweeting out cricketer MS Dhoni’s personal information.

We spoke to Pavan Duggal, a lawyer who is considered to be a leading expert on Cyberlaw in India, and he told us that, “1.4 million pensioners can do nothing about the breach. They have no legal recourse. Section 47 of the Aadhaar Act states that any criminal complaint can only be filed by the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), and the UIDAI is not going to go and file 1.4 million FIRs over this issue.”

Without mincing his words, Duggal states, “Section 47 shows the inadequacy and gross short-sightedness of the act.” He explains that the Act was never intended to cover an all-encompassing digital ecosystem that Aadhaar is today. The service was meant to be voluntary and the act looked at Aadhaar from the perspective of a centralised identification database.

Now that the data has leaked, there is literally nothing that anyone can do unless the UIDAI chooses to take action. Judging by the past, the UIDAI will simply issue a statement saying that the database is secure, though I’m not sure if they’ll go so far as to ban the JDSS.

As Duggal points out, the legislation is defective to begin with. The act essentially makes any Aadhaar holder a spectator, one with his hands chopped off, adds Duggal.

Clearly, the problem isn’t the fact that the data leaked out.
No, the real problem is willful ignorance of facts, that and the government’s refusal to take responsibility for Aadhaar.

As Duggal says, “The fears pertaining to misuse of Aadhaar data are real, because the concerns have not been adequately addressed.”

“You can’t take an ostrich approach to Aadhaar and hope the problems will go away. They’re very real, and they affect everyone,” he adds.

Banning an entity for leaking Aadhaar information is not a solution. It doesn’t address the underlying issues. “The collective legal and legislative issues need to be addressed first,” says Duggal. For example, the Act never even considers the fact that a database would need to be shared or that it could leak out.

Even now, India doesn’t have adequate privacy laws. In fact, when lawyers were arguing for Aadhaar, they very clearly stated that, “The right of privacy is not a guaranteed right under our Constitution”. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi is quoted as saying, “The question of violation of right to privacy does not arise when it does not exist.” As horrifying as that statement is, it’s perfectly true.

The Hindustan Times, which reported the Jharkhand data breach, noted that, “In Jharkhand, officials were surprisingly sanguine about the breach, suggesting that they had been aware of the situation for several days.”

Why should this attitude come as a surprise from a government that is pushing to make Aadhaar mandatory for a number of services, including the filing of income tax returns, in direct contravention to a Supreme Court order barring the same?
The same government has also gone out of its way to collect biometric data from its citizens and implement Aadhaar-based digital payment and authentication systems with inadequate testing.

Despite these issues, there’s no escaping Aadhaar. Over a billion Indians are already registered on the service and their private lives are at stake. The system needs to be made more robust, and that can only happen when the problems are first acknowledged.

The National Payments Council of India (NPCI) and the UIDAI, the two government entities that should be responsible for Aadhaar, are refusing to even take responsibility for the platform.

And why will they? The Aadhaar Act grants the UIDAI complete immunity from prosecution of any kind. If anything goes wrong, there’s no legal recourse for anyone.

By relying on inadequate laws and collecting private, biometric data, Duggal says that India is sitting atop a volcano that’s just waiting to erupt. When it erupts, the UIDAI will essentially be immune from any prosecution and the country as a whole will suffer. “Such a situation will irreparably impact the lives and identities of the people,” claims Duggal.

The problem with the Act is that it was designed for a different Aadhaar than we know of today. It has no provisions for cybersecurity, it doesn’t define roles and responsibilities and makes no mention of legal recourse for the average citizen.
Ideally, a government body like UIDAI should be held accountable for everything Aadhaar. It’s functioning also needs to be more transparent to begin with.

As Duggal suggests, when we’re building an entire ecosystem on a fragile framework, our first duty is to strengthen that framework.

There are no checks and balances, there is no transparency and it’s still not clear if Aadhaar even complies with the IT Act, states Duggal.

To start with, the IT Act and Aadhaar Act both need to be amended, suggests Duggal. He believes that the focus should be on cybersecurity and the privacy of the individual. The roles and responsibilities of the organisations involved needs to be clearly defined. Remedies need to be specified.

Only then will there be accountability in the system, and only then can we start trusting it.

Aadhaar has potential, but it’s not perfect. There’s still a lot of work to be done towards implementing the service, and that will take time.

Passing the buck around at a time like this will not help.

Publish date: April 24, 2017 5:06 pm| Modified date: April 24, 2017 5:14 pm
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