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.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

11133 - Days after Jharkhand breach, govt websites continue to bleed Aadhaar data - Hindustan Times

Digital identities of more than a million citizens had been compromised by a programming error on a website maintained by the Jharkhand Directorate of Social Security.
INDIA Updated: Apr 24, 2017 20:26 Ist



Days after Hindustan Times reported a data breach of over a million Aadhaar numbers from a Jharkhand government website, at least four more instances of similar leaks on other government websites have come to light.

These breaches come at a time when the Supreme Court is hearing a set of petitions challenging a controversial government decision to make it mandatory to seed Permanent Account Numbers (PAN) with Aadhaar numbers for filing income tax returns.

“We have taken the Jharkhand incident very seriously,” said Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), noting that publishing UID numbers was illegal, “Appropriate action will be taken against those responsible under the Aadhaar act.”

The unsecure websites investigated by HT include a scholarship database in Uttar Pradesh, a public distribution system website in Chandigarh, a pensioners dashboard in Kerala and a Swach Bharat Mission website maintained by the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, which cumulatively compromise the digital identities of thousands of citizens.

Some of these websites were taken down after HT reporters approached the relevant authorities for comment, but in other cases, the confidential information is still online and available for all to see.

“I just do not understand why and how this is happening,” said Jairam Ramesh, a senior Congress leader who has been critical of the Aadhaar rollout, “The only word I can use to describe this is ‘atrocious’.”

In Jharkhand, the UIDAI moved swiftly to shut down the website. On Monday, state officials sought to implement an additional layer of security to protect those whose identities have been compromised by the leak.

“You cannot see the Aadhaar numbers anymore on the website. We are working on a One-Time Password (OTP) system for added security,” said Jharkhand social welfare secretary MS Bhatia, explaining that Aadhaar holders seeking to access the website will now get an OTP prior to logging in.

“The leakage instances show that the technical readiness of the government is just not in place to tackle a project of this scale,” said Apar Gupta, a Supreme Court lawyer and a petitioner in the Aadhaar cases, “This has been happening across state governments and departments.”

Gupta explained that central government notifications to seed discreet databases with Aadhaar numbers had created sensitive aggregations of citizen data at the state-level. “But these notifications have no guidance whatsoever about the data security protocols that need to be followed,” Gupta said.
In the absence of central guidance, each state department has created its own unique way of storing the data, often with the help of private software companies.

Pandey, the UIDAI CEO, said the ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has written to all state governments and the ministries asking them not to display such information. “If they do, they will have to face action,” he said.
Yet activists noted that in each data breach, the UIDAI and state authorities acted after user identities had already been compromised, and provisions in the Aadhar Act mean that citizens have no legal recourse to this intrusion.

“A person by himself does not have any recourse to ensure that leak is closed and for legal action for improper disclosure of personal information,” explained Gupta, the lawyer, ”Only the UIDAI authorities can register a case.”

“The UID numbers leaked in Jharkhand could be used for the next fraud based on identity-theft,” said Sunil Abraham, Executive Director of the Centre for Internet and Society, noting that authorities are investigating the use of Jan-Dhan accounts for money laundering during demonetisation. “At a bare minimum, the UIDAI should issue new ID numbers to protect those affected by the data breach.”

Pandey, however, said issuing new UIDs was not an option.
“Our track record has no case of identity of theft or financial loss and if anything comes, we have the ability to track the culprit,” Pandey said.

When asked if this unblemished track-record had ever been independently audited, Pandey demurred.

“Whosoever is supposed to audit us is auditing us,” Pandey said, “But the names can’t be disclosed due to security reasons.”