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

11272 - Argue for a privacy law, not against Aadhaar - Economic Times




BY T K ARUN, ET BUREAU | MAY 07, 2017, 08.17 AM IST

Big Brother is watching you- this is no longer Orwellian dystopia but the mundane reality of a world permeated by technology that uses biometrics to identify, geopositioning to locate and monitoring of online conduct to sell relevant advertisements. 

The Naked Ape used to be a book by ethologist Desmond Morris; now it is you and me and anyone else who uses myriad applications (apps) on our smartphones, after blithely signing up to terms of use that we never bother to read but grant permission to peel off, one after another, the layers of wilful non-disclosure behind which we imagine we remain private. 

Cameras watch you in stores, in front of your computer, taking a selfie or talking to someone on Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangouts, at traffic lights. These cameras are getting better every day: some can capture the details of your iris, besides the details of your facial features, which also are biometric markers of identity, from 10 metres away. Combine that with facial recognition software, and the difference between you and that little fish in the glass bowl is that you just can’t swim as well. 

Your phone messages are stored by the phone companies for a mandated period, for police agencies to examine, if they feel the need to. In the US, calls are recorded and stored routinely, to be taken up for investigation, if warranted — as, for example, were conversations between the Boston marathon bomber and his wife. 

When we routinely use our fingerprints to unlock our smartphone, does it make sense to complain that the government wants to use the same facility to authenticate our identity? There are good reasons for governments to determine the identity of individuals. 

We no longer live in a state of nature, of harmless innocence. The serpent has been hard at work, huckstering around the world. Ask not if people everywhere have taken their bite of his fruit. Ask only, was it Delicious or Fuji? Human beings live as an interconnected, increasingly global community of intelligent beings located in a matrix of technology capable of both malign and benign use. People are mobile across borders on an ever-increasing scale, transferring technology and capital, jobs and hopes, raindrops on noses and whiskers on kittens. 

They also transport across borders drugs, young girls meant for the flesh trade, illicit money, disease, weapons and terror. The safety and security of the majority call for the state’s ability to identify and pin down the malign minority. Precise means of identification are essential — for everyone, because you do not know beforehand who’s a deatheater and who’s the good guy. 

The G20 has an ongoing programme to create a Unique Legal Entity Identifier, which would identify any individual or company or trust capable of economic activity, so as to clearly identify the beneficiary of any transaction. 

It remains a work in progress, but will not halt. The UK, under the conservative government of David Cameron, has mandated every British firm to disclose its beneficial owners. Anyone who seeks a visa to the US or the European Union has to part with his biometric data. Many governments around the world have required or are in the process of requiring citizens’ identity documents to include biometric data. 

Aadhaar internalises this dynamic of modern reality. It is useful for efficient administration and dispensing of government services. It saves the government huge amounts of money, which is not an insignificant detail in our developing country. 

The problem is not with Aadhaar but with the potential for misuse of the data on individuals it collects and stores. Just storing everyone’s text messages does not breach privacy, reading them does. Those who object to Aadhaar assume that the state would, once it has such data in its control, automatically use it for purposes unacceptable to a free citizen. The point is to statutorily remove that automaticity, by means of a rigorous privacy law

A man’s medical condition is his private business, you would agree. But what if he is infected with a disease that could spread and afflict an entire population? That negative externality makes it imperative for the state to breach his autonomy over his own body and isolate him and treat him, even if he does not want to. But first, it must be established that he poses a threat to public safety. There must be a protocol for that, an authority to determine that, a system of holding that authority to account. 


The same principle must apply in the case of Aadhaar. Personal data tagged with Aadhaar ought to lie in separate silos. Their separation should be breached only when a clear case is established for its need, and specific authorisation obtained, this being open to scrutiny ex post, by a committee of Parliament, in every case. Spooks cannot have carte blanche. Once Aadhaar comes with stringent, verifiable regulation of how the data obtained for it is used, its benefits would outweigh its harm. That is the way to go about it