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.


Friday, May 12, 2017

11326 - Security leaks trouble India's ambitious ID scheme - Deutche Welle


India's biometric identification system, which contains personal data of over a billion Indians, is in the eye of a storm - amid growing concerns over privacy, security and legality. Murali Krishnan reports.



When the personal details of India's cricketing icon Mahendra Singh Dhoni went public on social media a couple of months ago, the leak raised the issue of privacy of individuals and security of data collected by the Indian government for the Aadhaar database - which contains the biometric data of over a billion Indians.

The ambitious project is being managed by the Unique Identity Authority of India, which enrolls residents, stores and manages their biometric data, and issues the 12-digit Aadhaar numbers.
The project was introduced roughly a decade ago by the then Congress party-led government in the hope that it would help ensure targeted delivery of government subsidies, benefits and services.

Expanding usage
And the current BJP-led government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been seeking to vastly expand its usage, despite instances of security weaknesses resulting in the leak of personal data of children and cases of private entities illegally storing biometrics data.

The Modi administration's push also violates a Supreme Court ruling issued in October 2015, stating that the Universal Identification Document, commonly known as Aadhaar, cannot be made mandatory for any government scheme. The government says more than 90 percent of residents now have an Aadhaar number.

It argues that linking social welfare schemes to Aadhaar will eliminate bogus beneficiaries and ensure transparent and efficient payouts. It has set a June 30 deadline for workers to enroll or show proof they have applied.

Activists, however, are increasingly worried.
The Centre for Internet and Society , an NGO, recently claimed that personal details and Aadhaar numbers of around 130-135 million Indians could have been leaked from four government portals due to a lack of IT security practices. It also added that about 100 million bank account numbers of pensioners and rural workers could have been leaked from the portals.

"It is a clear invasion of privacy. It is nothing but an attempt by technocrats to turn everyone into a customer for their financial technology-related products," Usha Ramanathan, an independent legal researcher and campaigner against Aadhaar, told DW.
"The government has been in a haste to enforce Aadhaar and link it to both welfare and non-welfare schemes in the country. But, it is a serious concern when personal information of an individual is not kept protected and gets leaked out in the public field," Gopal Krishna of the Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties told DW.
Aadhaar, which collects among other information, citizens' iris scans and fingerprints and stores them in a centralized database for an extended time with only loose guidelines and no pre-existing laws to ensure the privacy of that data, is now linked to no less than 38 government schemes, including the government's latest directive.
Now, the government says it needs to link the identity number to income tax returns to improve compliance and prevent fraud.
"If the government misled the public to no end on this subject, can we trust it not to misuse the formidable powers of Aadhaar?" said Jean Drèze, a development economist and visiting professor at the Department of Economics, Ranchi University. "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,'" Drèze told DW.

Checks and balances?
Despite criticism from many quarters, ministers and officials remain steadfast in their push to expand its coverage and usage. Last month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely unequivocally said that Aadhaar may become the only card required to identify a person in India, replacing other documents such as a voter identification card and a permanent account number.

"A stage may come when unique identity card (Aadhaar) may become the sole card. There are many countries where such a situation exists. There is a social security number in the US and in India it (Aadhaar) could be the counterpart," he said.

The man behind the Aadhaar scheme, Nandan Nilekani, has defended the project in the face of fierce criticism, saying there's nothing wrong in the government's decision to expand the scheme's use.

"There are enough checks and balances to ensure it is not misused," says Nilekani.

"I have no evidence at all that Aadhaar was made for surveillance, and I've been in the government. The law is very clear - it states that your biometrics can't be shared under any circumstances, not even for national security. It's a very tight law."