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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Sunday, May 7, 2017

11271 - Mistaken Identity - Indian Express



  • OpinionEditorials

By disparaging legitimate data security concerns, government could devalue Aadhaar and its promised efficiencies


By: Editorial | Published:May 5, 2017 12:20 am

Finally, the government has admitted that almost 3.5 crore Aadhaar identities have found their way into the public domain, having been inadvertently published on government websites. Nevertheless, the state counsel arguing against a clutch of PILs in the Supreme Court insists that it is currently the “most foolproof method”. He has had the humility to concede that the picture could be different 20 years later, but not the wisdom to acknowledge that it could happen tomorrow. Over the years, the Aadhaar establishment has brushed off security and privacy concerns by insisting that the system is technologically foolproof. However, humans make technology, and it can be cracked by other humans. Data can only be secured by punitive privacy law, not technology alone.

Aadhaar was presented as a very tiny pinhole, through which only the reply to a single query could emerge: Is the person interfacing with the system who he or she claims to be? Nothing else, certainly not the contents of the database on which the query runs, was supposed to come out into the public domain. 

However, it now appears that the pinhole is about as wide as India Gate, and open for traffic. Did the Aadhaar technology fail? Of course not, the state counsel has protested, and he was right. Yet the fact remains that the system failed. One of the first principles of hacking is that the weakest link is not in the machine. It is the human sitting at the keyboard. Hackers prefer to target people rather than systems, counting on them to give unauthorised access to systems out of ignorance or carelessness.


The “leak” of Aadhaar data owed to the ignorance of government departments about data security. They published data which was never supposed to be let out of information silos. Of all the scenarios anticipated by the naysayers, this is the worst. If this is normalised, then lesser concerns must seem trivial, like the misuse of data for marketing by private agencies involved in the Aadhaar chain. That alone would have brought people out on the streets in a mature information society. Yet the attorney general has dismissed such concerns as “bogus”. And there is no willingness to reconcile the legal status of Aadhaar, which is voluntary, with the fact that it is compulsory in practice. Aadhaar is an ambitious project which can bring valuable efficiencies to government spending. 

The government should not devalue it by disparaging the completely legitimate security concerns of citizens, or by forcing it upon them by ignoring the letter and spirit of the law. That would be a truly “bogus” policy.