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

11246 - Your Aadhaar Data Is Now With Private Companies As Well - Bloomberg Quint


Private companies like Accenture and Ernst and Young are all holding our Aadhaar data. (Photo: iStock)


| 4 min read
Your Aadhaar Data Is Now With Private Companies As Well
Aayush Ailawadi, BloombergQuint
Yesterday, 12:54 pm

This February, Microsoft launched Skype Lite, a special version of its popular video-calling app for India. It is designed to run smoothly on cheaper smartphones and where network connectivity is sparse.

While the app works surprisingly well even in areas with limited internet, there’s a feature that was showcased by Microsoft at its launch event that could be a cause for concern – Aadhaar verification. It conducted a mock video interview for a job where Skype Lite helped verify the identity of the aspirant using Aadhaar.

At first, it might seem very useful. What can possibly go wrong if a potential employer uses your Aadhaar information for verification on an encrypted network? Dig a little deeper and that question evolves into: how has your personal identity information that you voluntarily gave to the government instead landed at the doorstep of a tech giant like Microsoft?

It’s natural for these insecurities to get compounded with all the recent talk about the Aadhaar programme and concerns being raised about its security and privacy.

Usha Ramanathan, an independent legal researcher who has been tracking Aadhaar since 2009, says,

There is Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act 2016, which, among other things, makes it clear as the blue sky on a cloudless day that the Aadhaar Act could never have been a Money Bill. It allows private companies to use the UID database for ‘establishing the identity of an individual for any purpose’.

She is wary about how private companies – like American biometric technology provider L-1 Identity Solutions, open-source document database MongodB, and consulting firms Accenture and Ernst and Young – are holding all our data.

Microsoft explains how some of these concerns might be misplaced as its Aadhaar integration with Skype Lite is absolutely safe, convenient and how it could actually reduce fraud in transactions involving the Indian government, businesses and consumers.

Alok Lall, director at Office Business Group, Microsoft India, explains that the UIDAI has directly appointed a number of Authentication User Agencies (AUAs) from various government and non-government entities to facilitate and process such authentication requests, including e-KYC services. Microsoft has contracted with one such AUA and, in this case, is itself a sub-AUA to provide Aadhaar-enabled authentication services to its Skype Lite users in India.

For privacy reasons, the functionality within Skype Lite is such that only the verifier’s name, photo, birth year and last 4 digits of Aadhaar would be shared with the requester, for the purpose of authenticating the identity. The verifier is made aware of what details he or she will be sharing with the requester, and must indicate consent before the authentication can proceedAlok Lall, Director, Office Business Group, Microsoft India

Ramanathan points out there are several private companies – suppliers of hardware, software, banks, eKYC service providers and AUAs – that are linked to the Aadhaar interface. But, perhaps Microsoft comes into the spotlight because it’s the biggest global tech behemoth to get involved with the largest biometric database in the world.

Lall points out that Skype-to-Skype voice, video, file transfers and instant messages are encrypted. This protects ordinary Skype users from potential eavesdropping by malicious users.

The company says it does not store data and has no access to the central repository. It only uses standard interfaces exposed for a sub-AUA.

As for the Aadhaar database, the UIDAI mentions it is encrypted using the highest available public key cryptography (PKI-2048 and AES-256) with each data record having an in-built mechanism to detect any tampering. UIDAI says that even if a hacker attempted to decrypt it using millions of computers, it would take him billions of years to crack the code.

Ramanathan mentions that it might not be an external threat to the database that is worrisome. She says, “Sometimes I wonder if it is because they (private companies) already have the data with them that there is no known case of hacking or data breach from the UID database?”

While nobody from the current UIDAI team responded to BloombergQuint’s queries, former chairman of UIDAI, Nandan Nilekani, says, “Aadhaar is meant to be a platform, a platform for the use of a variety of things. The law has a section (Section 57 of Aadhaar Act) which says it can be used for other purposes.” He goes on to point out how Aadhaar has been based on user consent from the beginning.

If you wish to use Skype Lite and if you wish to authenticate yourself for some purpose, that is your decision.Nandan Nilekani, Former Chairman, UIDAI

Privacy experts like Ramanathan aren’t convinced by that argument. She believes that “consent” per se is the biggest sham in the Aadhaar project. “If the UID number has to be seeded everywhere, for any service or subsidy, what consent are we talking about? Compulsion is the only route, so I think we should stop pretending there is any choice and consent in this project.”

(The article was originally published on BloombergQuint.)