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

11144 - Govt websites are leaking Aadhaar details. Who will take action against ? - Business Standard

Personal details of 1.5 mn pensioners were publicly displayed on the website of the Jharkhand govt
April 26, 2017 Last Updated at 09:54 IST

The Narendra Modi government insists that the biometric data of over 1.1 billion Indians who have enrolled for Aadhaar, a 12-digit identity number, is safe. Yet, it is struggling to keep these identity numbers confidential as required by law.

On Saturday, the personal details of nearly 1.5 million pensioners were publicly displayed on the website of the Jharkhand government’s Directorate of Social Security. The details included their Aadhaar and mobile phone numbers and bank account details – a breach that could potentially expose the beneficiaries to profiling and even financial fraud. The website was taken down by the administrators on Saturday night.

On Monday, the website of the Food and Civil Supplies Department of Chandigarh was reported to have publicised Aadhaar numbers of its Public Distribution System beneficiaries. The Union Territory has nearly 490,000 such beneficiaries.

Such breaches of confidentiality have become frequent lately. On Monday, the website of the central government’s flagship Swachh Bharat Mission was found leaking Aadhaar details of its beneficiaries.

On March 29, the Unique Identification Authority of India, which manages the centralised database, blacklisted an enrolment agency after it inadvertently leaked details of former Indian cricket team captain M S Dhoni’s application to join the Aadhaar programme on Twitter. The leak and the authority’s swift action in the high-profile case were even debated in Parliament.

Security researchers, in fact, have pointed out that Aadhaar numbers and associated demographic data is even showing up through simple internet searches. On February 17, security researcher Srinivas Kodali had alerted the authorities that a website had leaked the Aadhaar demographic data of over five lakh minors.

“When I reported the government website that was leaking this data, the UIDAI did not even acknowledge the complaint,” he alleged.

He added: “Besides the one I reported, the ministry of rural development’s website was showing Aadhaar numbers and details of over 100 million MNREGA workers. That was not the first and these will not be the last, because by design, you are allowing the Aadhaar number and details to be stored by anyone. You do not even need an Application Programme Interface, right now everyone can build their own database of Aadhaar numbers.”

Yet, the government has remained silent about these repeated instances of negligence leading to the exposure of ordinary citizens’ data. It has given wide publicity to its action against nine private enrolment agencies, including the one that leaked Dhoni’s application, but is yet to take action against any government agency for serious breaches of data security.

Why are the leaks serious?

Section 6 of the Aadhaar (Sharing of Information) Regulations states: the Aadhaar number of an individual shall not be published, displayed or posted publicly by any person or entity or agency.

In mandating confidentiality, the law-makers have acknowledged the sensitivity of what is designed as a single, universal, digital identity number that any registered entity, whether public or private, can use to “authenticate” an Indian resident.

Authentication can be performed either by verifying a resident’s biometrics (fingerprints or iris scans) or by matching the Aadhaar number with demographic attributes, or through a one-time password sent to a mobile number/email stored in the Central Identities Data Repository. There, the UIDAI confirms if the details — demographic or biometrics — are indeed associated with that particular Aadhaar number.

While Aadhaar regulations state that an electronic know your customer query will require biometric authentication that may make it harder to commit fraud, government authorities have negligently published large caches of demographic data associated with Aadhaar that could be misused to carry out other fraudulent authentications on behalf of an individual.

A number of mobile apps already offer commercial services to verify potential employees, tenants, etc through Aadhaar. For example, TrustID, a mobile-based platform offers to verify individuals through their Aadhaar identities, using either biometrics or by simply matching demographic details or one-time password associated with the Aadhaar number. When such platforms send a query to the UIDAI, the latter responds with a Yes/No to authenticate the individual.

Kiran Jonnalgadda, co-founder of HasGeek, a community for software developers in Bengaluru, said such fraud would be “not be easy to detect and fix, as it is an electronic verification over a mobile app with no tell-tale physical signs.”

“And once an individual faces fraud, it is not clear how their Aadhaar numbers will be replaced with new ones as these are linked to third party databases that expect the number to be unique to an individual. What happens when the same individual shows up in a third party databases with both old and new numbers?,” he added. “The only solution would be is if these were revocable hardware tokens, such as chip and PIN credit or debit cards, or SIM cards, where having the physical card matters, but which can be replaced.”

There are also concerns with the government having made Aadhaar mandatory for a wide range of schemes. Increasingly, an Aadhaar card is being considered sufficient as a form of identification by authorities.

In a blog post, writer Senthil has pointed out that the UIDAI does not include holograms or physical signatures or any other security information in the Aadhaar cards that are sent to applicants?. These are just colour printouts that are easy to replicate. The availability of Aadhaar numbers and demographic data in the public domain could heighten the risk of the use of fake Aadhaar cards.

On its part, the UIDAI allows individuals to receive alerts on mobile or email each time their Aadhaar number is authenticated, but it is not mandatory to register for it.

More seriously, under the law, the UIDAI is not under any legal obligation to inform Aadhaar users when a crime related to their personal data occurs. And the victims cannot approach a court directly because under Section 47 (1) of the Aadhaar Act, the UIDAI has the exclusive power to make complaints in case of any violation or breach of privacy.


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