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


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.


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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

11465 - ‘In a battle between staying anonymous and being unmasked, there is no excuse for being unprepared’ - Factor Daily



Kiran Jonnalagadda May 23, 2017 5 min


Editor’s note: Anonymity on the internet has its pros and cons. It helps whistleblowers, but also gives rise to online abuse. Last week, Bangalore-based internet activist and entrepreneur Kiran Jonnalagadda showed that set of sock puppet accounts anonymously operated by members of India’s software products think tank iSpirt were running campaigns to support Aadhaar, India’s biometric identity system. Some of those accounts were also trolling anti-Aadhaar voices on Twitter

Here’s a take from Kiran on why anonymity is still important to protect.

Anonymity is both good and necessary. It is a recurring feature in any closed system. Take elections for example. Your vote is anonymous, and this is an essential feature, but you only have voting privileges if you meet specific criteria such as being a citizen and over 18 — meaning it is a closed system. Anonymity does not allow anyone outside the system to participate.
Anonymity is both good and necessary. It is a recurring feature in any closed system… Anonymity does not allow anyone outside the system to participate  

Throughout most of history, closed systems have been easy to maintain because distance and language make natural barriers. The early internet, by simple virtue of being a relatively small place and limited to those geeky and privileged enough to get online, functioned like a closed system.

Early chat forums, from Usenet to IRC to email lists, also use the metaphor of a “room” wherein you had to enter a room to see the conversations within. A statement made inside a room was therefore unlikely to be seen by anyone not in the room.

Also read:

The social network metaphor, starting from the early 2000s, did away with the concept of rooms and instead defined networks around individuals based on their follows and followers, letting each user exist in a virtual room that shared significant overlap with the next person’s virtual room. Once these networks introduced sharing — Twitter’s retweet, Facebook’s share and so on — they added the ability for your words to be carried to an audience far beyond what you thought it was going to, with all the attendant upsides (influence) and downsides (loss of context and unwanted attention).

We can see one example of careful thought being put into anonymity on a social network on Quora, the Q&A site. When Quora launched, it included anonymous Q&A as a standard feature. However, since this could easily be abused for harassment, Quora added two other restrictions:
1. You had to have a Quora account to post anonymously, ensuring that you were part of the closed system, not an outsider.
2. Quora membership was available by invite only, preventing people from making new accounts just to use anonymously.

Both of these constraints worked to create a community that maintained civil discourse even while embracing anonymity. In Quora’s vision, a question or answer can continue to remain relevant even if you don’t know who is asking or answering.
Online social networks continue to be subject to the rule of law, but social networks, as with all software-defined matchmaker platforms, also find it necessary to define their own governance system, separate from the law  

While anonymous speech has a long tradition in society (consider, for instance, writing and publishing under pen names), society has also evolved mechanisms for dealing with unwanted speech such as libel, blasphemy and harassment, allowing the government to demand your identity from your associates (such as your publisher) under specific conditions and with due process (such as a court warrant).

Online social networks continue to be subject to the rule of law, but social networks, as with all software-defined matchmaker platforms, also find it necessary to define their own governance system, separate from the law. These are usually defined as the community code of conduct and can include rules such as Facebook’s ban on nudity, or the underlying process behind the “Report this” button on any of these sites. (See Matchmakers for a detailed examination of why these governance rules become necessary.)

What we’ve seen in the case of Twitter in particular is governance rules that overemphasise free and anonymous speech and under-emphasise limits on such speech, which is why Twitter is particularly prone to anonymous harassment  
What we’ve seen in the case of Twitter in particular is governance rules that overemphasise free and anonymous speech and under-emphasise limits on such speech, which is why Twitter is particularly prone to anonymous harassment. In my opinion, this is something for Twitter to reflect on and make amendments for, and this appears to be a widely held opinion.
Finally, if you’re doing anything that is likely to draw unwelcome attention, it is imperative for you to know how to protect yourself. The world of technology is a constant arms race, and in a battle between staying anonymous and being unmasked, there is no excuse for being unprepared. The recent episode has been a reminder for me on how badly educated people are. While I have no sympathy for those trying to abuse me (apart from their lack of education), I’m also concerned for others doing good work anonymously who may suddenly have a new tool (password reset) used against them. I hope they will stay alert and stay ahead of the curve.

Lead visual: Nikhil Raj