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


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


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 24, 2017

11460 - Aadhaar database – privacy vs transparency debate: If beneficiary-names secret, can’t check if they are genuine - Financial Express

Since many used the report of The Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) to allege a breach in the UIDAI’s Aadhaar database, it is important to keep CIS’s latest clarification in mind.

By: The Financial Express | Published: May 23, 2017 7:14 AM

In the four government schemes that CIS has looked at, it said around 130-135 million Aadhaar numbers could have been disclosed through these sites along with around 100 million bank accounts. (Reuters)

Since many used the report of The Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) to allege a breach in the UIDAI’s Aadhaar database, it is important to keep CIS’s latest clarification in mind. CIS has said that while its report talked of various government portals revealing data of various beneficiaries—their names, bank accounts, Aadhaar numbers—this was misunderstood or misreported to mean a breach in UIDAI’s biometric database; it has not made any claim, CIS says, of the central repository being breached. That said, CIS sticks to its original point of the ‘illegal data disclosure’—as opposed to a data ‘leak’ or a ‘breach’—being a problem and making ‘no difference as far as potential for identity fraud or financial fraud is concerned’. CIS goes on to say that while some government portals have started masking some of the data like the Aadhaar number or the bank account details, this makes no material difference since, with the government agencies still collecting and storing the data, this can be accessed through cyber-attacks or through a leak from people who have access to the data. In the four government schemes that CIS has looked at, it said around 130-135 million Aadhaar numbers could have been disclosed through these sites along with around 100 million bank accounts—its report gives details of some of the individual schemes. A similar exercise of the pension accounts in Puducherry by FE, for instance, threw up Aadhaar numbers and bank accounts even though the names were blacked out—a Google search using the Aadhaar numbers, though, gave the names and addresses of some of these persons.

How the data, whether masked or not, can be used to commit identity or financial fraud, however, is not clear if the original UIDAI repository cannot be hacked. After all, if a financial transaction is to be carried out with the details obtained from, say, an MGNREGA website, it will still have to be authenticated through a biometric. While UIDAI must put an end to the issue of identity/financial fraud by inviting hackers like the Election Commission is doing with EVM machines, a privacy law would probably take care of issues of how much data government agencies should make public. It has to be kept in mind, though, that with so much theft in most government programmes, it is very important to have an independent audit mechanism. And that audit can only take place if details of beneficiaries, including the bank accounts to which the money was transferred, are maintained by various government departments and then shared with independent auditors—long before Aadhaar was conceived of, Aruna Roy began demanding making public the rosters of various works programmes run by the government, to ensure the wages were actually received by genuine beneficiaries.