The UIDAI has taken two successive governments in India and the entire world for a ride. It identifies nothing. It is not unique. The entire UID data has never been verified and audited. The UID cannot be used for governance, financial databases or anything. It’s use is the biggest threat to national security since independence. – Anupam Saraph 2018

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 scholarUsha Ramanathandescribes 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

In the Supreme Court, Meenakshi Arora, one of the senior counsel in the case, compared it to living under a general, perpetual, nation-wide criminal warrant.

Had never thought of it that way, but living in the Aadhaar universe is like living in a prison. All of us are treated like criminals with barely any rights or recourse and gatekeepers have absolute power on you and your life.

Announcing the launch of the#BreakAadhaarChainscampaign, culminating with events in multiple cities on 12th Jan. This is the last opportunity to make your voice heard before the Supreme Court hearings start on 17th Jan 2018. In collaboration with @no2uidand@rozi_roti.

UIDAI's security seems to be founded on four time tested pillars of security idiocy

1) Denial

2) Issue fiats and point finger

3) Shoot messenger

4) Bury head in sand.

God Save India

Friday, May 5, 2017

11241 - India's Aadhaar Biometrics Database Is About to Become a Security Nightmare- Bleeping Computer

  • May 3, 2017 08:22 AM 

A report released on Monday by The Centre for Internet and Society reveals that over 135 million records from India's Aadhaar national ID systems have already leaked online.

The leaks didn't take place because of a flaw in the national Aadhaar system, but through government agencies that handle Aadhar data. According to the report, just four government programs are responsible for leaking a whopping number of 135 million records.
The programs mentioned in the report are India's National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA), the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh's Chandranna Bima Scheme, and the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh's Daily Online Payment Reports of NREGA.

The problem of India's over-reaching Aadhaar database
The Aadhaar national database is one of the richest government-operated databases across the globe, holding more than just your basic identity details.
Set up in 2008, the Aadhaar system assigns each Indian a 12-digit ID in the form of XXXX-XXXX-XXXX, and records information such as home addresses, information on all bank accounts, mobile phone numbers, and all the biometrics details you can imagine, ranging from eye color to fingerprints, and from height to iris scans.
When it was first launched, the program was advertised as a database of Indian citizens' details which the government could use to pay subsidies and other benefits. Each user could register and assign a bank account to his Aadhaar ID, where to receive social benefits.

Eight years after the program's inception, the Indian government has pushed the adoption of the Aadhaar system in almost every facet of day-to-day life.

For example, students that want to enroll in educational classes, have to provide their Aadhaar ID. If you want to buy a new SIM card, your telecom will register that SIM card with your government-issued Aadhaar ID, even if you like it or not. Aadhaar has become so prevalent in Indian life, that the government doesn't even have to push it anymore. For example, two airports have already implemented an Aadhaar-based entry system into their premises, as an alternative to classic the classic entry method of showing a ticket or government ID.

Aadhaar data leaked through intermediaries
The prevalence of Aadhaar data is how The Centre for Internet and Society has discovered the leak. When the four government programs began operating, they began collecting personal details from participants, along with their Aadhaar ID, often pulling data from the Aadhaar database to complete profiles.
Improperly configured systems exposed the details of program participants on the Internet. While the full Aadhaar database was never exposed, details in the government program databases allow a fraudster to tie a person's leaked details (names, addresses, phone numbers) to an Aadhaar 12-digit ID.
If enough of these details leak in different places, fraudster can build comprehensive profiles on Indian citizens, even recreating the Aadhaar database themselves.

For its part, the Indian government has admitted that some of the Aadhaar database has leaked online through its ministries, said it started investigations, and is already preparing changes to Aadhaa'rs security policies.

A grim future ahead
Advertised as a Social Security system akin to the one used in the US, Aadhaar has become a behemoth database that has expanded beyond the government's control, as The Centre for Internet and Society has discovered.

Furthermore, the government has vested interests in expanding Aadhaar's reach, and not necessarily for any good reasons, according to Member of Indian Parliament, Tathagata Satpathy.
"My worry is that this data will be used by [the] government for mass surveillance, ethnic cleansing and other insidious purposes," Satpathy told Mashable India in February, following a public scandal, when a local IT firm had developed a face recognition system that relied on Aadhaar data.
"Once you have information about every citizen, the powerful will not refrain from misusing it and for retention of power," he added.

Government's failure to enact Aadhaar security and privacy policies
Right now, because of the massive leak of 135 million details, including Aadhaar IDs, Indians stand to become victims of financial fraud. In the future, as other government programs leak more data, including biometrics, the problem will pass the point where the government could do anything to fix it.
The Centre for Internet and Society would like the government body in charge of Aadhaar to exert more control over how this data is handled by third-parties. Below is the conclusion section of their report.
While the UIDAI has been involved in proactively pushing for other databases to get seeded with Aadhaar numbers, they take little responsibility in ensuring the security and privacy of such data. It is important to note that when Nandan Nilekani claims repeatedly that the Aadhaar data is secure, his focus is largely on the enrolment data collected by UIDAI, or authentication logs maintained by it. With countless databases seeded with Aadhaar numbers, we would argue that it is extremely irresponsible on the part of the UIDAI, the sole governing body for this massive project, to turn a blind eye to the lack of standards prescribed for how other bodies shall deal with such data, such cases of massive public disclosures of this data, and the myriad ways in which it may used for mischief. UIDAI may point to Section 29 (4), which makes publication of Aadhaar Numbers illegal , to state that legal machinery exists to deal with situations such as these, but its selective implementation against anyone pointing out flaws can be harmful. However, given the scale of the project, the amount of data involved, and the large expanse of both public and private parties involved, we would argue that there is no way that UIDAI, in good faith, could have determined the presence of one legal provision, on its own, as sufficient deterrent to prevent such flagrant misuse of data.  Further, it is staggering that while these databases have existed in the public domain for months, while framing the Aadhaar Act Regulations in late 2016, the UIDAI did not even deem these as important matters to be addressed by way of regulations or standard

Catalin covers various topics such as data breaches, software vulnerabilities, exploits, hacking news, the Dark Web, programming topics, social media, web technology, product launches, and a few more.