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.


Monday, May 1, 2017

11198 - Aadhaar concerns and some consolation - The Hindu

APRIL 30, 2017 00:02 IST



Everything revolves around the biometrics, so without biometric verification connectivity to UIDAI it will make no sense
Sometimes it seems very few people know what Aadhaar is all about. So there is a need to explain what it is and dispel some risk perceptions, while confirming others.

First up, what is Aadhaar? In essence it is a number. The card’s job is only to record the number.

How does this number help? It means any place that is equipped with biometric verification linkage with the UIDAI database can verify that I am indeed who I say I am. It’s an identity proof – the number together with biometrics. That is all it is.

Once a number is assigned to a “name-biometrics” combination, all other names a person has used become inoperative, in theory. All official documents will eventually need to be matched and, where necessary, rectified and reissued. It might involve phenomenal cost, but that is another story.

What makes Aadhaar secure? Basic personal security in the tech world depends on two elements. First is what you “have”. The second is what you “know”. For the system to work well at least one of the two must be unavailable to others. For a smart card, the “card is what you have” and a “pin is what you know”. For a bank account, a “login ID is what you have”, and a “password is what you know”. A card number or a bank ID is seldom secret. It is the loss of a PIN or password to theft, guesswork, phishing, hacking or cracking that makes them vulnerable.

In the case of Aadhaar the “number you know” is like the email address or credit card number or bank account number. Regardless of what the government says, it is impossible to keep the UIDAI database secure and immune to hacking or leaking. So one way or another your number is what you know, but so do a lot of people and it is not a secret.

On the other hand, personal biometrics is “what you have” and only you do. The god-given password cannot be stolen. The card is a simple mnemonic device and you can happily lose it, so long as you have a record of the number. Duplicate or even fake cards can be produced with rudimentary technology and at virtually no cost. So, free advice to all authorities or entities using the card alone to check identity: don’t do it unless you have biometric verification connectivity to UIDAI.

It follows that stealing someone’s Aadhaar number or card will not do the thief any good, unless he can fake biometric presentation. It can be done but there are technical-financial barriers.

All that the Aadhaar system can thus legitimately, and accurately, do is to establish identity. Many commentators have criticised Aadhaar for not doing other things, which it is not and was never meant to do.

First, Aadhaar is not “proof of address” although it does have a “recorded address”. No effort has been put in to make it “proof”. Addresses being a variable, it is not even feasible. Organisations accepting it as address proof will soon wake up to the fact that their communications or even financial benefits do not reach the target if they misreported their address or moved. People who lose benefits or important communications will correct their recorded address — a fairly simple process.

Second, Aadhaar is not “proof of nationality”. No resources have gone into establishing that link. Nor was it ever within the UIDAI mandate. It is now linked to passports applications because it can eliminate multiple passports being issued to a person under different names.

The same objective of de-duplication is behind most other linkages, be it driving licences, LPG connections, PAN cards or what have you. All this can only benefit the country including those who cry themselves hoarse at every new linking. Can anyone use your Aadhaar to get your IT returns or financial transactions? Not any more easily than without it.

There is also criticism of third-party use – Reliance Jio, for example, uses Aadhaar as the sole customer registration tool. This should in fact be praised and encouraged — it cuts out all paperwork while completing know your customer norms. Every private or public party should be able to ascertain that the person they are dealing with is who he says he is.

The benefits in terms of law and order alone will have many benefits — take the case of an applicant for schoolbus driver position, with a history of child abuse.

So, is there any reason to worry? Yes indeed. I am scared stiff. Any government can and willl know everything about me. There is no bar on official misuse. And, eventually someone will find a profitable way to fake my biometrics.

intops2@gmail.com