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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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

11274 - View: Aadhaar privacy concerns are childish when all your key data is already out in the open - Economic Times


BY SWAMINATHAN S ANKLESARIA AIYAR, TOI CONTRIBUTOR | MAY 07, 2017, 07.39 PM IST
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Countries and corporations with the most powerful anti-hacking systems have failed to protect themselves. What hope, then, is there for individuals?

The courts are hearing petitions against the government’s expansion of schemes for which Aadhaar linkage is mandatory. Civil rights activists complain of privacy erosion, large-scale leakage of Aadhaar data, and violation of Supreme Court limits on Aadhaar. Some fear, rightly, that a premature insistence on Aadhaar can deprive poor people of welfare benefits: not all have Aadhaar numbers, and the telecom infrastructure is still woefully inadequate. The biggest fear is that Aadhaar’s expansion will convert the government into George Orwell’s ‘Big Brother’, watching your every move and robbing you of personal space. 

Proponents of Aadhaar sneer that the activists are anti-technology Luddites, who unwittingly aid tax evaders and other crooks. These crooks can be caught by making Aadhaar mandatory for several purposes, producing data that helps catch the guilty. 

However, this debate is irrelevant for the biggest privacy issue, which has nothing to do with Aadhaar. Privacy has mostly disappeared already with computers and cellphones being penetrated by hackers. Any misuse of Aadhaar pales in comparison with the misuse of viruses sitting on your computer or cellphone, watching all you say or write, and analysing this into behaviour patterns that even you may not realise. 

The main threat to privacy does not come from giving access to your fingerprints and iris photos to the government. Immigration officials in dozens of countries routinely take your fingerprints and iris photos when you enter their airports, and passengers do not mind since this obviously helps track undesirables. 

A top cybersecurity expert estimates that every email and phone call is monitored by at least a hundred invisible entities, of whom 52% are private actors and 48% are state actors (of more than one country). The state has no monopoly on snooping. Rather, states themselves are hacked daily. Despite spending billions on cybersecurity, states are losing this war. Far from governmental Big Brothers becoming all powerful monopolists of information, they themselves are leaking data and secrets like a sieve to foreigners and non-state actors. Privacy has disappeared for governments as well as individuals. 


Russian hackers helped Donald Trump win the US presidential election by hacking into the Democratic Party’s computers and releasing uncomfortable facts about Hillary Clinton. Hackers stole $101 million from the central bank of Bangladesh. In 2014, hackers called ‘Guardians of Peace’ leaked confidential data of Sony Pictures, including personal emails of employees and their families, copies of then-unreleased Sony films, and other information. The group demanded that Sony abandon its comedy film on a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un. Other hackers have stolen huge sums. Corporations buy leaked data for commercial gain. Criminals use leaked data for blackmail, theft, kidnapping and murder. 

Countries and corporations with the most powerful anti-hacking systems have failed to protect themselves. What hope, then, is there for individuals? 

The cybersecurity expert says that 70% of websites worldwide are compromised. Daily checks are no defence: it can take 240 days for experts to detect a hack. 

Viruses are growing by 66% per year, some aiming to watch and record, others aiming to destroy systems. They can see every financial transaction, every compromising revelation in emails and phone calls, every movement of you and your family. 

Cyberspace is a global commons that defies regulation. Anybody can enter it and penetrate systems globally. Not all hackers are criminals or corporations seeking commercial data: some seek to do good by exposing facts (like WikiLeaks). 

Through history, states have been powerful and individuals powerless. States were therefore the main threats to civil liberties and privacy. But increasingly non-state actors (notably ISIS and the Taliban) can threaten and overwhelm states. Tax evaders, money launderers and drug traffickers remain untouched by the most powerful states. 

Civil rights activists say little or nothing to the threat to privacy from private actors. Yet these threaten both privacy and security, and governments need additional powers to deal with hackers as well as criminals. Data mining is a powerful tool that helps governments detect tax evaders, blackmailers, terrorists, and other undesirables who escape the traditional police system. Governments must beef up cybersecurity, for itself and citizens. Making Aadhaar leakproof is only a small part of that. 

India needs a Privacy Act, not just to check excesses in government snooping but to guard against private snooping. When civil rights are being breached massively by undesirable private actors of all sorts, to focus on government misuse alone — as activists are doing — is myopic. 

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