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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

11421 - Aadhaar: The fine balance between identity and anonymity - Live Mint

Last Modified: Wed, May 17 2017. 01 31 AM IST

With mechanisms such as Aadhaar, a balance needs to be drawn between the need for social identity on the one hand, and the very human right to personal privacy

The opposition to the widespread adoption of Aadhaar has, of late, become increasingly vocal. Photo: Hindustan Times

The evolutionary success of Homo sapiens is quite inexplicable. There is very little to distinguish us from the other species who inhabit the planet—in fact our evolutionary ancestors were lower down the food chain than hyenas. Yet, somehow, over the course of millennia, we’ve managed to become the most powerful species on the planet.

In his latest book, Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari puts forward an unusual theory to explain this. Harari argues that the one thing that distinguishes us from apes is our ability to believe in myths—notions like religion and money that are completely made up—in pursuit of which we are willing to make tremendous personal sacrifices. One such myth is the concept of the nation-state. Citizens believe in the notion of nationality and take upon themselves the common identity that a nation-state provides. This belief encourages them to act in concert with other citizens to achieve national goals—even if doing so comes at a personal cost. As a result, nations achieve far more than a single family or even an entire tribe could hope to accomplish. No other animal has the concept of myth-making and hence none can match the accomplishments of humankind.

While there are many elements that make up the myth of nationhood, one of the most prominent among these is identity. It is the concept that establishes the relationship between the individual and the state and allows us to perform our social responsibilities and lay claim to our legal rights. It offers us the means to avail of government facilities and participate in commercial dealings. More importantly, it ensures that the services to which we are entitled actually get to us and are not diverted to someone else. Given the complexity of modern society, reliable identity is critical to our daily existence. The alternative—complete anonymity—is clearly undesirable as it does damage to the myth of the nation-state.

All nation-states have mechanisms to confer identity—from citizenship records that list births and deaths to government registers that contain details of people entitled to various benefits and services. Increasingly, governments around the world are coming around to believe in the need for standardization of national identity. Currently, over 80 nation-states provide some form of national identification number or card to their citizens and even though they were all originally deployed by the government, these forms of identity are more often than not used in all transactions, be they with private parties or with the government.

Aadhaar is India’s mechanism to provide its citizens with a non-repudiable identity. Once it has been rolled out completely, the stated hope is that vast swathes of the population that have, till now, existed outside the mainstream will be able to avail of services and benefits that are currently denied to them for want of identification.

The opposition to the widespread adoption of Aadhaar has, of late, become increasingly vocal. The fear being expressed is that Aadhaar poses a grave risk to personal privacy and that no matter what the benefits may be, its continued proliferation is not worth the potential harm that it could cause. Opponents of the scheme stand against the very concept of a state-conferred identity, preferring anonymity over having to part with their biometrics.

It is important to recognize that identity and anonymity sit at two ends of the same spectrum. As much as the opponents of the national identity scheme might prefer a life of complete anonymity over the risk of State surveillance, if all of us live and work without any form of reliable identity, society would crumble into chaos in very short order. Equally, as much as the government needs to be able to identify its citizens in order for them to play a part in the grand mission of the nation, it must afford them the opportunity to retain their personal privacy.
Neither extreme is acceptable. A balance needs to be drawn between the need for social identity on the one hand, and the very human right to personal privacy.

In my view, this can only be achieved by enacting a privacy law that recognizes the right of the individual to keep certain aspects of their lives private (from both the State as well as other citizens), but which, at the same time, ensures that everyone has the ability to use a non-repudiable, tamper-proof identity in order to be able to function optimally in society. Where any harm is suffered by the individual on account of any violation of his right to personal privacy, this law must prescribe strict punishment for the perpetrator. After all, if we want to preserve and enhance the myth of the nation-state, we would do well to preserve the operational functionality of one of its cornerstones.

Rahul Matthan is a partner at Trilegal. Ex Machina is a column on technology, law and everything in between.
His Twitter handle is @matthan.