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 16, 2017

11411 - What if Cybersecurity Threats like ‘WannaCry’ Affects Our Aadhaar System? - Business World



“This underscores importance of security in the system we are building with Aadhaar. The lead agency has played defensive and offensive each time any researcher highlights flaws or leaks.”


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The ransomware attack called ‘WannaCry’ spread owing to a vulnerability in Microsoft XP for which a security patch had been released by Microsoft in March this year. As expected most organizations don't seem to have patched their operating system. India is listed among the already affected 74 countries.

The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT –In) is responsible for scouting the Indian Internet domain for cybersecurity threats. It has issued this critical code red alert, “It has been reported that a new ransomware named as WannaCry is spreading widely. WannaCry encrypts the files on infected Windows systems. This ransomware spreads by using a vulnerability in implementations of server message block (SMB) in Windows systems. This exploit is named ETERNALBLUE.”

WannaCry is a type of ransomware.

A ransomware downloads a virus onto the user's device, mostly by clicking on a suspicious link and then starts infecting everything a user may have access to including network; it encrypts all the data it encounters that can only be decrypted by a key provided after paying a ransom.

Unlike other cyberattacks, the data is usually kept intact, but is
encrypted by the virus. The only way to gain access to your data is to buy the encryption key from the attacker in exchange of a ransom payment.

Mishi Choudhary, president and founding director at the Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC) said,

"This is a flagrant example of a global blackmail facilitated by lax attitude of agencies and organizations on cybersecurity. In November last year, Sky News and Hacker House had warned about such risks but no heed was paid. Not installing regular software updates is the primary cause for such malware to spread like wildfire. This teaches us how something can wreak havoc without attacking the traditionally designated critical infrastructure like a power grid.”

A few tips to save yourself from ransomware:

1. Act early, don't be in denial
2. Use the Microsoft patch from March 2017
3. Install software updates
4. Use Free And Open Source Software
5. Don't click on suspicious links
6. Back up your data

Mr Choudhary continued, “This also underscores the importance of security in the system that we are building with Aadhaar. The lead agency has played defensive and offensive each time any researcher highlights flaws or leaks. It has shunned taking real action to plug in security holes and relied on PR or ad-hoc rules based arrangements to cure a design defect. We hope this cautionary tale pushes us towards an honest and transparent discussion about vulnerabilities that a digitized society brings.”

WannaCry started its spree on May 12. News of the threat came to light with 16 National Health Service (NHS) organizations in the UK and FedEx being affected but quickly spreading around the world. The demand from the hackers to release their hold on the PC has been a ransom payment of 300 dollars in bitcoins. It is also suspected that this malicious software was stolen from National Security Agency of the US.

CERT-In does not advocate paying this ransom amount to release an affected PC system since it does not guarantee the hackers will stick to their word.