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


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.


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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

11208 - Here's What Allegedly Happens If You Ask Uncomfortable Questions To UIDAI On Twitter - Huffington Post

The Big Brother's way.

01/05/2017 12:47 PM IST | Updated 18 hours ago

Senior Editor, HuffPost India

                     MANSI THAPLIYAL / REUTERS

If the workings of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) were always a bit mysterious to most citizens of India, they aren't going to get any clearer anytime soon. That seems to be the case at least from a recent response by UIDAI to a right to information (RTI) query.

Recently, The Wire reported that the official handles of UIDAI and its CEO, ABP Pandey, have blocked several Twitter users, who were allegedly raising questions about the security breaches of Aadhaar or advocating against its blanket imposition. Not all of those blocked had tagged these handles or were following them. But, clearly, someone out there was keeping an eye on their activities.

The RTI application, filed by activist Sushil Kambampati from Gurgaon in March, asked the UIDAI several questions about its policy of blocking users on social media. Specifically, it wanted to know which handles the UIDAI official account and its CEO have blocked and about any specific guidelines that allow for such actions to be taken against social media users. In response, the UIDAI denied having blocked any handles and dismissed the other queries as "Not Applicable". It didn't take too long for Twitter users to call out its bluff though.


An investigation carried out by Alt News revealed that some of the users who complained of being blocked were unblocked after the RTI was filed. But the evidence of them being blocked in the first place exists in screenshots taken by the users — proof that both UIDAI and its CEO had been on a blocking spree earlier.


Thanks for the block @India_Stack. Is this how people will be blocked from your supposed 'public good' too? pic.twitter.com/87kfzTAOd4

From a DM I came to know UIDAI's CEO is on Twitter. So I searched handle. I assure u I have never interacted with @ceo_uidai. Yet Blocked! pic.twitter.com/4w2jMTl085


@SKisContent @Vadabadava @AnupamSaraph @UIDAI @ceo_uidai We are blocked by CEO UIDAI. Screenshot from 2 minutes back, and your RTI. Must appeal. also, ask what social media policy/process of UIDAI
But beyond the denials issued by UIDAI looms a larger question: can government agencies decide to block the citizens they are supposed to serve for the offence of asking questions they may not have convincing answers to? Twitter user @aparatbar, who is a lawyer, claimed such ad hoc moves by "public authorities who disseminate information" may be unconstitutional. By impeding people's right to know their policies, government agencies are choosing to reveal and conceal data according to their convenience, undermining the imperative for transparency in any functioning democracy.

                        MANSI THAPLIYAL / REUTERS

Weakening RTI
The fact that a Central agency entrusted with sensitive personal details of millions of citizens is behaving in such a whimsical manner in the world's largest democracy is worrying, to put it rather mildly. Just how alarming its conduct is becomes clear when we remind ourself of RTI, one of the strongest tools of public accountability we have in India, and its steady dilution at the hand of draconian policy-makers.
While it was revolutionary for India to have passed the RTI Act in 2005, its implementation has always been fraught with controversies, bordering on danger. In a detailed survey of the RTI over the last 12 years, Ajai Sreevatsan points out certain provisions of the Act are used by the State to reject legitimate applications, obfuscate information and deny information. The Narendra Modi government recently turned the process of filing an RTI application more cumbersome by stipulating a word length and raising the fee. Since many of RTI's beneficiaries are impoverished citizens, it may no longer be as effectively used now as it once was.


This is not to say misuse of RTI, to ask frivolous questions for instance, isn't rampant. A common reason for denying RTI queries pertains to such mischiefs, closely followed by the imperative to protect national interest — a term whose ambit seems as elastic as the definition of the 'right' kind of patriot these days.

When activists are persistent, demanding satisfaction even at the risk of their wellbeing, the ways to silence them have been ruthless. Once again, as Sreevatsan points out, since 2007, at least 65 RTI activists have been killed, 157 attacked, and 168 threatened. The provocation behind their predicament could be as grave as exposure of illegal land-grabbing to raising doubts about the efficacy of demonetisation of high-value currencies, which played havoc with the livelihood of millions for weeks on end.

With rising panic following the breach of sensitive information linked to the Aadhaar scheme, the public is besieged with worries. The questions they have for the government are many, though the answers they get are, at best, sketchy.
The efficiency of the Aadhaar project, which is expected to enhance the delivery of government benefits, such as the public distribution system and pensions, is not fully known, since the government is unwilling to divulge enough details. But after several instances of leakage of data over the last few months, the Centre seems at least willing to admit that its systems are not foolproof, though it has no intention of backing out from Aadhaar.

                   MANSI THAPLIYAL / REUTERS

The government's determination to impose Aadhaar on its citizens, in defiance to a Supreme Court order against it, may be based on its commitment to improving public services. But such an ambitious plan cannot be executed while endangering sensitive data, such as bank details, or be taken to be the only benchmark for dispensing benefits to citizens, given the far-too-many instances of technological and human glitches that plague biometric data. Fingerprint mismatch, poor connectivity with the Internet forcing people to climb on trees to catch better signal on their cell phones, identity theft — the reports over the last few months are too dire to be bluntly ignored.

But these are merely the ground realities. By now, most of us know what the government expects of us: to trust it blindly, no questions asked.