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
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.
Friday, May 26, 2017
11471 - Aadhaar-Privacy Debate Misses One Thing: Personal Data Discipline Rushda Majeed - Quint
In fact, debates on the merits of Aadhaar, and whether it improves government programmes and budgets, allows for social and financial inclusion, or promotes citizen-centric governance, still dominate public discourse.
Also Read: Privacy, Security and the Supreme Court: An Aadhaar Starter Kit
Informing People About Aadhaar
But what is missing in the public debate on Aadhaar and data privacy is the “public.” So far, the government has successfully conveyed to people the importance of signing up for an Aadhaar card. The information campaign has been so effective that nearly every citizen now knows the card to be critical for availing of essential government benefits. Looking ahead, the next step becomes equally important, not only in the context of Aadhaar, but for data privacy in general.
Now more than ever, it is vital to educate the public on the importance of personal data, the need to protect it, and to make informed decisions when parting with it.
Parting With Personal Data
In India, the line between public and private information is, at times, unclear. People share personal information easily, not considering it to be sacrosanct.
It is, therefore, unsurprising that most Indians readily part with their personal information when asked to do so.
Ubiquitous demand for personal data – including via private or corporate channels like Google or Facebook – makes it even more important for citizens to be educated on the need to protect personal data. And therefore, it makes it incumbent on the governments to serve as a model of transparency and accountability in handling it.
Raising Awareness About Privacy
Here are two measures to consider and adopt.
The time is right for the government and public interest organisations to focus on public education programs on data privacy.
Public awareness and education campaigns about the value of personal information, and the importance of protecting it, would go a long way towards placing data privacy issues front and centre in people’s minds.
Basic information on what is personal information, consent, best practices, opt-out options, and sale of personal data would serve as a useful starting point for the vast majority of the public that is not clued into debates of personal data and privacy.
Hold Govt Accountable for Data Leaks
The public also needs to be made aware of the potential next steps once they part with their personal data. Do people realise that they have the right to see their information held by the government? Do they know how to go about accessing it? What can they do if sensitive information is leaked or misused?
It is equally important to reach out to schoolchildren and teenagers. Schools would be an ideal setting for a curriculum on data privacy and the related topics of government transparency and accountability.
Educators should speak on how personal information can be misused in various forums, as well as teach students to be more civic-minded in holding officials and governments to account.
Apart from educating those parting with information and data, the officials handling the information should know the implications of dealing with sensitive personal data.
As custodians of the data, public servants are intrinsic to any public education push on data privacy. Simple guidelines and training for handling and disclosing personal information would reinforce the view that personal data is held for a specific and lawful purpose, and must be dealt with carefully.
Also Read: Aadhaar Case: Beyond Privacy, An Issue of Bodily Integrity