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.


Search This Blog

Sunday, May 7, 2017

11265 - Imposing Aadhaar on people robs citizens of one of their most basic rights - First Post


May, 04 2017 15:20:28 IST


Irony of ironies: We as a people have the right to determine our political destiny — the Constitution even declares that we are bearers of sovereignty, not the State — but it is the contention of our Attorney General that our bodies can be appropriated, to the extent that we have no right to determine which personal data of our anatomy we do not wish to part with. To begin with, the State wishes to have proprietary rights to our retina and fingerprints, all in the name of Aadhaar enrolment.

As I always understood in my naivety, my body is mine, it is not just a person, it is me. I thought I owned it but the state considers it a petty concern — a trifle. It is not as if we do not part with personal data when we apply for a passport or a driver's license. But parting with my name or the name of my spouse or my permanent address does not incapacitate me in any way. But, surely, parting with sensitive data that I know can be stolen by digital thieves and without which I am a persona non grata in my country of birth is a serious matter.

This is a grave objection as theft of biometric data could simply render us stark naked in digital terms and vulnerable to abuse by state and non-state actors. If newspaper reports are to be believed, a cache of Aadhaar numbers has already been compromised.
In a way, all this is akin to posting our fingerprints and iris details on the Facebook page of the government. Once the deed is done, the State has proprietary rights to this data which it may outsource or 'share' with 'others'. As senior counsel Shyam Divan, who has challenged the constitutionality of the government’s decision to make UIDAI mandatory for filing I-T returns, told the Supreme Court, "We can change our password (each time we feel our system is being violated), but we possibly cannot change our fingerprints."
Once my iris details are outsourced, there is no guarantee that someone with more than altruistic reasons will not copy the details, make a contact lens, con the system and create my clone. As against this, any banker without a squint can vouch for my handwriting: Sure, my signature can be forged but in all probability, it will not be able to clear the layered screening. The last thing I want is that my clone sneaks into my house a la Arnold Schwarzenegger and steals my pretty wife's affections.
It is not just that we cannot say 'no' to such digital trespass but, more importantly, we also cannot demand to know with whom that information is likely to be shared with. Sure, I understand that my body has a social and public dimension but putting it up for vivisection is not my idea of assisting the humanity.
I also take umbrage — if such a thing is possible in our vicious times — at being reduced to a nondescript number. Though it may be a laudable objective from the standpoint of the State to create an edifice of national identification, so that it can address the menace of illegal immigration and Bangladeshi settlers, my favourite nightmare is about the mushrooming of an inevitable grey market in personal information with unscrupulous agents auctioning my data online for a price.
The US, for instance, has a universal ID: The unique nine-digit number issued to citizens and residents by the Social Security Administration. The whole concept of social security was not too well understood in its nascent years, and with advances in digital technology as the individual came under the scanner, he or she became easy meat for both the government and even the corporate sector — to be dissected and commodified.
The entire argument is not just about Aadhaar enrolment but also about the overweening reach of the state, the erosion of net worth of the individual — which is now dwarfed by 'overriding' public interest — and the manner in which this power impinges on such important matters as right to privacy in which is implicit the right to consent.
A nagging fear is that the state's own identity is in jeopardy: The metamorphosis will lead to the creation of a watchdog entity with a tenacious hold over the citizen's life; imagine a government of peeping toms that will keep a tab not just on your earnings but also your spending and consumption patterns and, who knows, even your culinary and carnal habits.
Until now, the interface between the State and the individual has had a certain inherent equilibrium. But the overreach in the garb of Aadhaar — with the Centre insisting that it is mandatory to possess one — this parity might get disturbed, creating a perpetual trust deficit between the two stakeholders. The most vulnerable to encroachment might be the until-now exclusive preserve of civil rights which may become a minefield of prickly concerns with our lives turning into a thoroughfare for state agencies. Incidentally, as it was pointed out in the apex court on Wednesday, the Aadhaar Act clearly states that it is voluntary: This is the thrust, this is the idiom and this is the edifice of the entire legislation. The real danger perhaps lies in what might be later read into the fine print, leading to Aadhaar being linked to birth certificates, personal insurance, social security, pension and other legitimate articles that a citizen can today demand as a matter of right. Such is the trust deficit already that the Centre, rather than addressing these legitimate concerns, is covering itself with the fig lead of duplicate pan cards that it wants to stamp out of the system.
Consequently, dignity, equality, and liberty are at the heart of any decision that the court might take.
As senior counsel Shyam Diwan has told the learned judges, it is all about the autonomy of the individual and his freedom of choice (''I am compelled to 'speak' to someone I do not want to speak to...''). But on another philosophical plane, it is also about the theory of the modern welfare state which is evolving into a multi-headed hydra that can be both intrusive, invasive and compelling. At what point such information becomes intrusive is a matter now for the court to decide.
The Attorney General has asserted that the individual's right over his/her body is not absolute as law circumscribes our right to terminate a pregnancy at a late stage just as it prohibits us from committing suicide. But it is nobody's case that suicide is a civil right. The usual justification for forced imprisonment of those considering or attempting suicide is alleged danger to oneself. But in my zeal to protect my self-ownership, I do not become a hazard to society. Rather, by parting with such sensitive data I do put myself in the orbit of predators who can harm me beyond imagination.
Aadhaar is a matter of right — an option that a citizen can exercise if he wishes to avail of certain services; but the individual is not duty-bound to obtain one, nor is it a matter of life and death. So, let us not turn it into some kind of an existential dilemma for the State and the individual. I again quote Mr Divan who has highlighted the 'compelled free consent' premise of Aadhaar. "An individual must be allowed to limit what he or she puts out to the world. It is her autonomy. This principle of informational self-determination was developed by the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany. The basis is dignity. Underlying the right of self-determination is the principle that every individual is a free person."
''If the State can have control over your body to this extent — that it can obtain your data and centralise it — that reduces us to vassals.''
Well said counsel, hope the State is listening.



Published Date: May 04, 2017 03:20 pm | Updated Date: May 04, 2017 03:20 pm