The UIDAI has taken two successive governments in India and the entire world for a ride. It identifies nothing. It is not unique. The entire UID data has never been verified and audited. The UID cannot be used for governance, financial databases or anything. It’s use is the biggest threat to national security since independence. – Anupam Saraph 2018

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 scholarUsha Ramanathandescribes 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

In the Supreme Court, Meenakshi Arora, one of the senior counsel in the case, compared it to living under a general, perpetual, nation-wide criminal warrant.

Had never thought of it that way, but living in the Aadhaar universe is like living in a prison. All of us are treated like criminals with barely any rights or recourse and gatekeepers have absolute power on you and your life.

Announcing the launch of the#BreakAadhaarChainscampaign, culminating with events in multiple cities on 12th Jan. This is the last opportunity to make your voice heard before the Supreme Court hearings start on 17th Jan 2018. In collaboration with @no2uidand@rozi_roti.

UIDAI's security seems to be founded on four time tested pillars of security idiocy

1) Denial

2) Issue fiats and point finger

3) Shoot messenger

4) Bury head in sand.

God Save India

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

11287 - Dissent and Aadhaar by Jean Dreze - Indian Express

We have been numbed by a series of lies, myths and fictions about the project.

Written by Jean Dreze | Updated: May 8, 2017 10:37 am

India is at risk of becoming a surveillance state, with faint resistance from libertarians, intellectuals, political parties, the media, or the Supreme Court. Very soon, almost everyone will have an Aadhaar number, seeded in hundreds of databases. Most of these databases will be accessible to the government without invoking any special powers. Permanent surveillance of all residents becomes a possibility. Only a simpleton would expect this possibility to remain unused.
With everyone on the radar, dissent is bound to be stifled. As it is, many people and institutions are anxious not to get on the wrong side of the government. NGOs are afraid that their registration might be cancelled if they antagonise the authorities. Vice-chancellors and principals are unable to stand up for their students’ right to hold public meetings on sensitive issues. Newspapers treat the government with kid gloves, especially on security matters. Investigative agencies target or spare Opposition leaders at the government’s bidding. Nationalism is confused with obedience to the state. With Aadhaar immensely reinforcing the government’s power to reward loyalty and marginalise dissenters, the embers of democracy are likely to be further smothered.

How did we get there, without even noticing it? One answer is that we have been numbed by a series of lies, myths and fictions about Aadhaar.
The first lie was that Aadhaar is a voluntary facility. Today, we know that this was just doublespeak. Soon it will be virtually impossible to live in India without Aadhaar. And if you cannot live without Aadhaar, in what sense is it voluntary? As a columnist aptly put it, Aadhaar must be “the biggest bait-and-switch in history”.
Another early fiction was that the purpose of Aadhaar is to help welfare schemes. The truth is closer to the reverse: Welfare schemes have been used to promote Aadhaar (by creating mass dependence on it), irrespective of the consequences. As it happens, the consequences so far have been disastrous. If the name of a worker employed under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act is spelt differently in his job card and Aadhaar card, he is at risk of not being paid. If an old widow’s age happens to be understated on her Aadhaar card, she may be deprived of the pension that keeps her alive. For the public distribution system, Aadhaar is a calamity: In Jharkhand and Rajasthan, millions of people are deprived of their food rations every month due to technical problems related to Aadhaar-based biometric authentication (ABBA), according to the government’s own data.

Third, Aadhaar was endowed with mythological powers as a weapon against corruption. Many people fell for the simplistic claim that Aadhaar would “ensure that the money goes to the right person”. In reality, Aadhaar can prevent only some types of corruption, mainly identity fraud. If a contractor fleeces the government by over-invoicing, Aadhaar does not help. Nor does it help when a dealer gives people less than their due under the public distribution system. Sometimes, Aadhaar can make things worse, by disrupting fragile systems and creating confusion. For all we know, it may even create new varieties of identity fraud. Even if Aadhaar proves effective in curbing various forms of corruption, it is not the magic bullet that had been announced.
Fourth came a series of bogus claims about Aadhaar-enabled “savings”. Most of the savings figures have no solid basis. Instead, they acquire an aura of plausibility by repetition. A common pattern is that an official press note mentions a savings figure, say, from a closed-door presentation at the Prime Minister’s Office, newspapers quote that figure without verification, sundry commentators repeat it, and it becomes part of the Aadhaar lore. These dubious figures are then added up to produce an awesome grand total. Some of them are worse than gas — for instance, when Aadhaar-related glitches deprive people of their entitlements and the shortfall is counted as “savings”.

Fifth, the technology was claimed to be flawless. Today, there is growing evidence that this is not the case. In ideal conditions, ABBA seems to work most of the time. But often the conditions are far from ideal, causing immense inconvenience. And even the ideal-condition success rates may not be good enough if ABBA is to serve as a common tool of identity verification. In a recent interview, Nandan Nilekani stated that “this is a system which works perfectly in 95 per cent of cases”. That does not sound reassuring: In many contexts, a 95 per cent success rate is far from adequate.

Sixth, there is an ambiguity about the relation between Aadhaar and citizenship. Aadhaar, we are told, is for all residents, whether they are citizens or not. Sure, that is what the Aadhaar Act says. But then, why has enrolment been stalled in Assam? And why is Aadhaar enrolment in Assam being linked to the National Register of Citizens? Aadhaar deprivation could easily be used there as a weapon against illegal migrants, or communities branded as illegal migrants.

Finally, the confidentiality of the identity information collected at the time of Aadhaar enrolment is a myth. The initial draft of the Aadhaar Act, known as the National Identity Authority of India (NIDAI) Bill, did protect that information. But the final version does not. On the contrary, it creates a framework that enables the government to share or sell that information, except for the core biometrics, with any “requesting entity”. A vast collection of lucrative Aadhaar applications is now being built on the back of this information sharing facility. This is almost as big a bait-and-switch as the claim that Aadhaar is voluntary.

All this raises an interesting question: If the government misled the public to no end on this subject, can we trust it not to misuse the formidable powers of Aadhaar? The problem, however, is deeper. Even if it is not misused, the very existence of a huge infrastructure of surveillance is bound to stifle dissent. This ought to be a major concern for anyone committed to democratic rights and civil liberties.

The author is Visiting Professor at the Department of Economics, Ranchi University