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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Friday, May 5, 2017

11238 - Aadhaar is an electronic leash on citizens - Hindusan Times


The Aadhaar card is an attempt to strengthen the Indian state, a shortcut to circumvent the incremental process of institution-building and social development that has enabled wide-scale tax collection in the West. There is an admirable reluctance in much of the West to grant too much to the state. Many western countries also have legal protections for privacy that don’t exist in India.
COLUMNS Updated: May 04, 2017 17:59 Ist







Swayam Gupta lost out on a school scholarship because his name is misspelt on his Aadhaar card. His bank passbook shows an entry of Rs 1,200 in his account. However, he cannot withdraw the money as his name in the Aadhaar card has been erroneously spelled as Shivam.(Arun Sharma/HT PHOTO)

“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare once asked of roses. The 21st century version of this thorny question is: “What’s in an ID?” With great leaps in digital and biometric technology, the possibility that all individuals can be “known” by states and other institutions has becoming tantalisingly real. Until the coalescence of nation-states in the early 20th century, most people didn’t have ID cards of any kind. Now with over one billion people registered for Aadhaar numbers, India boasts the largest biometric database in the world.

Though wrapped in often opaque and cumbersome legalese, the debate over Aadhaar at the Supreme Court in the past week asks one of the most important questions of our time. In the age of big data, how much should the state know about individuals? It is a classic duel of two rival imperatives: The desire to expand the capacities of the State against the fear of the State developing illiberal powers over individuals.

I have a US green card, an ID loaded with biometric information that also allows me to live and work in the United States. I’ve willingly made the bargain of surrendering my bodily data for the purpose of residing in a country. At the same time, here in the United States, citizens are not obliged to possess any single form of identification. The Social Security Number, the unique identifying number most equivalent to Aadhaar, is not connected to a biometric data or even a photograph.

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Certain departments are behind leak of Aadhaar details: Govt tells Supreme Court 



There is an admirable reluctance in much of the West to grant too much to the State. In Britain, a plan to require ID cards for British citizens and residents was scrapped in 2010 in large part because it threatened to erode civil liberties. Many western countries also have legal protections for privacy that don’t exist in India.

The United States and Britain are much more robust states than India, with far greater and more sophisticated capacities to identify (and therefore tax) the people within their borders. The Aadhaar card is an attempt to strengthen the Indian State, a shortcut to circumvent the incremental process of institution-building and social development that has enabled wide-scale tax collection in the West.

Proponents of Aadhaar insist that the card will allow the poor easier access to services and benefits. An ID card can certainly be an empowering tool. In New York City, where I live, hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants form an inextricable part of the life of the city. A unique form of municipal identification called NYC ID allows them access to basic city services, a way to open bank accounts, to enter public buildings, and to report incidents to the police.

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  • Drought-affected dairy farmers in Karnataka have another worry: Aadhaar 






  • But after the election of Donald Trump, who pledged to deport millions of undocumented migrants, the NYC ID became a liability. If the Trump administration got access to that database, it would be more able to round up many New Yorkers. The city is no longer keeping personal information associated with new NYC IDs and will delete its existing database if the federal government comes knocking.

    Governments should earn our trust, not demand it. As individuals living in ostensibly liberal, democratic states, it is our right and obligation to be sceptical. Big data exponentially increases the knowledge and power of the State, but no amount of buzzword-strewn techno-optimism should extract our complete confidence.
    Without serious privacy protections, we should be wary of these efforts to make all people known and knowable. They remain ripe for abuse and error (already, lakhs of Aadhaar numbers have been accidentally leaked). Aadhaar will not only grant the State an “electronic leash” on citizens, but also allow corporations to build invasive financial profiles of people’s habits and histories. Why should we either repose faith in private sector whose ultimate interest is its own well-being, or surrender so much trust to state institutions with long traditions of incompetence?

    Kanishk Tharoor is the author of Swimmer Among the Stars: Stories
    The views expressed are personal