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.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

11302 - Social media is misused to propagate lies, hatred: Pitroda - The Hindu


BENGALURU, MAY 08, 2017 21:05 IST


Online media companies don’t take responsibility for their content, he says

Sam Pitroda, regarded as the father of India’s telecom revolution, says he is deeply concerned over the way social media is being misused globally to propagate lies, hatred and false ideas. In an interview, he says that in India also, social media has not been used effectively and technology is not meant to be misapplied.
He says that media technology companies such as Facebook and Google don’t take responsibility for the truthfulness of their content and that globally there has to be a movement on social media and ethics. Following are edited excerpts:

How do you see technology initiatives like Aadhaar and digital banking shaping up in the country?
We have come a long way in IT and telecom in India. When I started my work in India in telecom, we had about two million telephones; it used to take 10 years to get a telephone connection. Now we are a country of a connected billion; we have billion phones [and] at the same time we generate $130 billion worth of software export and services. IT and telecom have given us a great deal of global recognition, confidence, new industries, wealth and wealthy people. But at the same time, we have a long way to go. We still don’t have broadband connectivity in large parts of India, especially rural India. We still don’t use IT effectively in our education, health, governance. Aadhaar was a really great initiative to take all our residents and identify them. Now the challenge is to use Aadhaar to provide various services, whether banking, pension, employment, you name it. So one aspect is to use IT to do the same things that we do today. Another aspect is to use IT to do things that we have never done before. That is a bigger challenge, that requires change in the mindset, that requires new governmental organisation architecture.

Could you explain how?

Take for example, judiciary. Today, we have 32 million court cases pending. It takes 10 years sometimes to get justice, a lot of useless paper work. Of course, it is important from the view point of how we have done it. But in today’s terms, it doesn’t make sense. Every case just takes its own time. Can we use IT effectively to reduce this back log from 32 million to 3,00,000? Can we get justice in a year? Technology is there but the will to use technology and change our processes is lacking. Today, the real challenge is process re-engineering. Our processes are obsolete and not suitable for the need of the hour. A lot of these processes were designed 50, 70, 100 years ago. Today, we are using computers to computerise age-old processes as opposed to say, for the era today. We need new processes and then we can computerise it.

Are there any other challenges in the use of technology?
Right now, one of my concerns relates to how do we use social media. To me, social media is misused globally to propagate lies, hatred, false ideas. The other day, I saw somebody writing about Motilal Nehru, that he had five wives and Akbar was his son, all that kind of [nonsense], all lies. But somebody would tweet that, put that on WhatsApp, it would go to four million people and all of sudden it would become the truth.
Who are these people? They propagate a message which is totally false, but they get a hearing. Nobody takes responsibility for it. Today you can start tweeting that Sam Pitroda is corrupt, that you and I met and you gave me ₹10 lakh, it will sell because lies sell. You take Facebook, Google and all the others. They don’t take responsibility for their content but they are media companies. They want more clicks, because they get paid on clicks; there is more gossip, there are more clicks.

This is a great concern for me. We have started a not-for-profit initiative out of Paris (to address this challenge). I am one of the directors. Globally there has to be a movement on social media and ethics, social media and truth. In social media, anybody can hide and say anything. The amount of hatred that goes on in social media against minorities, all kinds of people, women, children, pictures of children... it is just pathetic. Is that what the technology is supposed to do? In India also, social media has not been used effectively. And you don’t know where to go. You can write anything about anything and get away with it and people would start spreading this. We need to be conscious of it.

You headed the India Inclusive Innovation Fund and the government had announced a ₹10,000 crore start-up fund. What has been the impact of these initiatives?
In this country, start-up companies are starving for risk capital. Risk capital is not available here because a lot of our business people don’t want to venture out into risk capital. They want a sure return, short-term return and without risk capital, it is difficult to build new businesses. The idea (India Inclusive Innovation Fund) we had then in the UPA government time was to create risk capital and we had already launched the ₹5,000 crore fund. What you have today is a fund mainly managed by the government.
And according to me, you can’t have government officers manage risk capital; they don’t have experience, they have never managed risk capital. This is not a job that anybody can do. You need people who have invested in new ventures in the past.

Do you invest in start-ups? What kind of bets have you made?
I don’t look at them as bets, I look at them more as exciting technology developments. I have (invested in) one company called Aerial Intelligence where we take satellite data and through artificial intelligence predict the agricultural yield of wheat, sugar, soya bean, coffee, tea and potato. It took us about two years to develop the right algorithms and all that. It is based out of Stanford University. I have another company on Big Data and analytics.

What kind of new opportunities do you see for start-ups here?
Everywhere I look around, I see huge opportunities, mainly because I see the world we live in today is obsolete. If we were thinking of the tools we have today, we would probably do things differently. There are huge opportunities in education, health, transportation, energy. Every industry is waiting for generational change, but it is risky; you have to create the right business model, show where one could make money, save money... but that is tough. It requires a different discipline. We may have a lot of start-ups here, but we don’t have enough mentors and that is why start-ups don’t succeed much. You see a lot of hype but there is very little going on, because you don’t have big mentors. A lot of our people who have built big companies have not built big companies based on products. They have built big companies based on labour. I take 10,000 people from here and put them in the U.S., that is one model. Other models are copies of western models, [for example, the] car. We don’t have Indian models of development, indigenous thinking. It will happen, but we don’t have enough of it. We have to change our mindset.

You are passionate about education, what should be the impact of IT in it?
Information technology brings about openness, accessibility, connectivity, networking, democratisation, decentralisation. With the Web today, we have so much good content available on every subject. From subjects like religion, how to make wine, to Physics, Chemistry, Math, health... How do you take content and curate it properly? And then offer it to students so that they begin to learn not from a lecture given by a professor, but through a content deliverer on the Internet and they become the self-learners? How you motivate people to learn on their own is a big challenge today. Technology is there but we still use it for the traditional class room. We still have four-year degree programmes, we still have a teacher who comes and delivers lectures. That has to change.