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

11129 - UIDAI collects minimal information and (keeps) optimal ignorance - Live Mint

Last Modified: Sun, Apr 23 2017. 11 21 PM IST


Mintspoke to Ajay Bhushan Pandey, chief executive officer, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on why Aadhaar is becoming mandatory for various purposes

                    Photo by: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Why is Aadhaar becoming mandatory even for those who want to carry on their lives without it?
You see, all have to understand Aadhaar in a broader context and also the purposes for which Aadhaar can be used and where all Aadhaar can be applied. Aadhaar gives a credible identity, compared to the quality of the various identity documents that are used traditionally in the country. Because what we have seen in many studies where you take any identity document, immediately lot of fake, duplicate and bogus documents starts floating in the market. And then it creates its own complications. If the fake identity is used to get subsidies or service deliveries, it leads to leakage of that money, funds get diverted. If the fake identity is used for getting some other services where subsidies are not involved, then the quality of those services gets affected. 

For example, if the fake identity document is used to get a Permanent Account Number (PAN) card or a bank account, then imagine the implications that it can have for the system, such as: generating black money, tax evasion and frauds. And then, many times the government is affected, taxpayers are affected and people are affected.

Suppose somebody is able to open a bank account with a fake identity and he is able to do some transaction, then he can easily deceive a lot of people and collect the money and then disappear. Now, you know, these things will become harder. I wouldn’t say impossible but it will be much harder if Aadhaar identity is used.

Given that Aadhaar is available to 1.13 billion people, why don’t we use it to improve the efficiency of our system, the quality of the systems, the quality of service delivery, and safety of users?

Given that Aadhaar is getting mandatory for so many things, are we in the process of getting all the information related to, say, my tax return, investments and bank details at one place, by keying in my Aadhaar details on some website or at UIDAI?
UIDAI has no information about where all you have used your Aadhaar. UIDAI believes in collecting minimal information and (keeping) optimal ignorance. So UIDAI will only tell the agency that this Aadhaar number and this finger print is matching. For what purpose they use this, that information we don’t ask for.

Therefore, UIDAI will never have any data that will impact your privacy. Your data will remain only with income tax department or the data will remain only with banks, along with your Aadhaar. UIDAI will never have your bank details or income tax details. Therefore people should not have to fear that UIDAI will have all your different data and if somebody hacks UIDAI, one can get your full view. That is not possible because we don’t collect that data.

How secure is Aadhaar for the users?
This is the question a lot of people have been asking. There is two sides to this. One is the security inside Aadhaar, and I would say that yes it is secure. And if you see our past track record, during the last 7 years, there has not been any incident of hacking or infiltration in the system. But does that mean that we should relax? No. Because the nature of security threats always keeps changing. So we have to show absolute vigilance and take every possible measure to constantly assess the threats and address those threats. And for that purpose we are always very vigilant. So, from that point of view, what we say is that today we are secure but we continuously work to keep it secure even tomorrow. This is the first thing.

Now, what about the security of the people or the organizations such as banks and others who are using Aadhaar, because ultimately people will use Aadhaar. So we have got a very strong law. And the law provides lots of restrictions on the organization that are using Aadhaar, like: what they should do, how they should improve their security, how to ensure that the data they collect will not get misused. And if any violation takes place, Aadhaar law is very tough. There are provisions of 3 years of imprisonment for the violator. 

How does UIDAI check if there has been any violation at the level of organizations that are using Aadhaar? What is the process for this?
There are a couple of things. There are some agencies that are directly in touch with us. We do their audits and during the audit if violations are found, we take action. Then, if any violation that happens and some cases get reported, we take action. If, let us say, that any incident happens, then the persons who are supposed to provide the security—or in case of the organization, their senior management—will be held responsible and they will be held under the Aadhaar Act. Aadhaar will also provide you the system—because in the digital world every transaction is traceable—to track who has done a transaction. Therefore, it will not be very difficult to find out who is the person who is actually behind a fake transaction. 
How secure is the process of procuring Aadhaar. Is it possible for someone to store my fingerprint, iris image from the biometric device and then use it later, without my permission?
It cannot be used for any other purpose. We don’t use it for any other purpose. But suppose if a service provider takes your fingerprint and uses it for some other purpose, then he becomes liable. I mean, it is just like you have given your standard signature to your bank and the banks start coping your signatures and start withdrawing the money. 

However, the agency is not allowed to store the biometrics and the process is such that they can not do it. Even in the worst situation, if they are able to store it, you will get a notification whenever they try to use it. Based on this, you can file a complaint. And then, from there an investigation can start. Then the police will go and find out the person who has done the transaction. So, here in Aadhaar, such level of security exists. 
Aadhaar also provides locking facility of biometrics; so no one can use it for any other purposes unless you open it, for which a one-time password (OTP) is sent on your mobile number. Once you use it, after 15 minutes, it will again get locked.

Recently, linking Aadhaar to income tax return (ITR) and PAN has been made mandatory. How does it make a citizen’s life easier? Is the only purpose of linking Aadhaar to ITR or PAN to catch hold of tax evaders and fraudsters?

As far as UIDAI is concerned, it is only concerned with identity and authentication. The purpose, for which Aadhaar can be used, depends upon the departments and ministries. Broadly, what we are saying is that this is an identity where the identity is credible; and authentication is credible as compared to many other systems. And therefore, if government in its own wisdom thinks that PAN and ITR can be strengthen by it, then they can use it. So that could be the purpose. It will help in improving the system and its efficiency and of course you know there will be many advantages.