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.

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

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.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

11282 - SC reserves order on Aadhaar: Privacy act is urgent requirement to save India from dangers of data breach - First Post

SC reserves order on Aadhaar: Privacy act is urgent requirement to save India from dangers of data breach
May, 04 2017 16:58:41 IST

The recent news about government websites leaking Aadhaar data has been unsettling for many supporters of the scheme. Details like users' names, addresses, and bank account details may have been disclosed. The fallout of this could be a possible misuse of the data leading to an eventual scam by ingenious criminals. As more and more schemes are being linked to Aadhaar, the question of it being used to hold the citizens on an electronic leash is being argued before the Supreme Court of India too. Besides the criminal angle, one of the central themes around the collection and collation of Aadhaar data is the issue of privacy.

With the personal data of citizens being held in a centralised database, the privacy concerns are indeed paramount. After over six decades of Independence, India does not yet have a privacy law. There have been various attempts of moving a bill in the Parliament but they have not yet been successful. This was not an issue till the data was not digitised. But the increasing usage of social media and electronic payments along with unique identity data, require protection.

Technology does provide a solution but this is not enough. The best technologies are known to have been broken into. Stronger encryption, etc, may help but it’s not enough. With better tools and increased computing power, encryption can only ensure security for a certain period of time. The technological safeguards need to be supported by legislative actions in the form of a privacy act. This is exactly how this issue is tackled internationally.

The European Union has been leading with enactments to protect the privacy of its citizens. In January 2012, EU proposed a comprehensive reform of data protection rules. The proposed regulation will come into force on 25 May 2018. The main emphasis in the EU regulation is that personal data can be collected as per the law but same has to be also protected as per EU law. Not limiting itself to the protection of personal data within EU, the regulation also envisages safeguards when data is to be exported outside EU. Penalties which will be imposed on violators from 25 May 2018 in EU as per the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can be up to a maximum of €20 million or 4 percent of the annual global turnover of the violators. While the EU is the leader in this respect, other countries too have similar measures.

The United Kingdom has had Data protection Act since 1998. This act specifically provides for usage and storage of personal data strictly in accordance with law. Any personal data which is legally obtained has to be kept longer than the time required for the purposes the data was obtained. Similarly, in the US, where there may not be a federal law for ensuring privacy, there are specific enactments pertaining to financial data, health data, etc. Several states within the US have also formulated their own privacy laws. Each of these enactments provides for penalties in case of violations.

In India, the IT Act 2000 with the amendment in 2008 through section 43a, imposes a penalty on a company which holds sensitive personal data of citizens. On failure to protect sensitive personal data, the company can be penalised to compensate the person so affected to a maximum of Rs 5 crore. There is, however, no mention of whether the company had a right to store the data. And having stored the data what is the time limit till it can store the data is also not clearly defined.
The Aadhaar Act 2016 does provide for the protection of data and also punishments for the same. Cases of misuse can lead to punishment up to three years and also fine up to Rs 10 lakhs. But there are issues which need to be addressed to ensure proper enforcement. Though the investigation by an Inspector of Police is mentioned, there is no mention of cognisance of cases. This would mean that there cannot be any case unless this is initiated by the Aadhaar Authority. Similarly, there is no mention of any compensation to the person whose data might have been compromised. Though, a person could possibly seek compensation under the IT Act as per provisions of section 43a provided Aadhaar-related data is declared as sensitive personal data.

It is in this background that the need for a comprehensive privacy law in India is an urgent requirement. The Privacy Act needs to define personal data which is to be treated as private. The Specific purposes for which this data can be obtained need to be listed as well. Similarly, the time frame in which this data can be stored needs to be addressed. Any violation should necessarily provide compensation besides penal punishment to the violators. But for this legal protection, a misuse of personal data due to a possible breach may harm citizens much beyond their current predicament of being hinged to an electronic leash.



Published Date: May 04, 2017 04:51 pm | Updated Date: May 04, 2017 04:58 pm