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.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

11485 - The Link between Aadhaar, Demonetization and the Myth of Cashless Economy - KASHMIR MONITOR


By MUDASIR SHEIKH - Published at: May 27, 2017

According to the government of India, demonetization was meant to curb counterfeit notes, the menace of black money and to promote cashless society. Analysts believe that cash only constitutes 6% of black money in India, rest is in the form of hard assets like real estate, gold, land and a huge portion is deposited in overseas bank accounts. So demonetization has attacked a smaller part of the bigger problem. As far as cashless society is concerned, cash transactions constitute about 98% of total transactions in India and 50% of these are small value transactions. So it is not advisable to demonetize currency in a country, where such a huge percentage of transactions are in the form of cash. With the demonetization of ?500 and ?1,000 bills, the surge in Aadhaar enrolments went up by 60%. The tech giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and apple are praising the biometric identification project (Aadhaar) of India. The prime minister of India, Narinder Modi seems highly motivated for the introduction of cashless economy into the country. Introduction of cashless economy and biometric identification of citizens is surprise in a country like India, as nine Indian provinces account for more number of people in extreme poverty than the 24 sub-Saharan African countries put together. Irrespective of huge development in USA and other western countries there is neither cashless economy nor such a large scale biometric identification system. So what is going on behind the closed doors of Indian government? Critiques considered that introduction of Aadhaar and cashless economy is a litmus test being conducted on Indian people by treating them as guinea pigs for a highly sophisticated form of payment system, which will later be introduced into other countries. There is clear evidence regarding the influence of foreign governments, banking cartels and private corporations into these two projects.

Some researchers have considered couple of factors which have actually caused demonetization in India. First one includes the refinancing of public sector banks in India. 80% of banks in India are run by government, during the last two decades these banks have been used to lend out loans to corporations which have strong political connections. These politically affiliated businesses do not paid back their money which has resulted into the accumulation of huge amount of non-performing assets (NPAs) within these banks. From last three years warning signals were continuously coming about their collapse. Through demonetization millions of poor people have deposited their meagre sums within these banks which have resulted into their refinancing, so that they can now lend the money to the same guys who earlier do not paid back their loans.

The second factor is the influence of technological and communications companies on the government, as these companies are among the fastest growing ones during the last two decades. Making payments through digital gate ways will be very beneficial for their growth. They can expand their influence over the whole human race. The statements from technological giants like Apple, Microsoft, MasterCard, Facebook, Google etc. clearly shows their intentions behind cashless society. Tim cook the chief executive of apple said that “next generation of children will not know what money is” as he promotes “apple pay” as an alternative. MasterCard executives consider apple pay as another step towards cashless society. According to mail online MasterCard is mining Facebook users data to get consumer behaviour information which it can sell to banks. Bill gates said India will shift to digital payments, as the digital world lets you track things quickly. The acquisition of artificial intelligence companies by Google, Facebook and Microsoft is also on its peak.

Over 200 private companies using AI algorithms across different verticals have been acquired since 2012, with over 30 acquisitions taking place in Q1 of 2017 alone. Apple acquired voice recognition firm “Vocal IQ and real face Google has acquired deep learning and neural network, Facebook acquired Masquerade Technologies and Zurich Eye. 

So what is actually going on, as private corporations and governments are desperate to introduce cashless economy through biometric payment system. India with few other countries like Australia, Denmark, South Korea, United Kingdom etc. are taking biometric signatures of their citizens irrespective of legal and technological loopholes into the system. Biometric identification systems like Aadhaar in India neither grants any right to domicile in India nor is it a proof of citizenship. Data Security Council of India in a report to “Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)” listed several security threats with a centralized data store house of Aadhaar.

In a biometric payment system parties need to download an app like “Aadhaar cashless app” in India on a Smartphone which can read biometric signatures like iris and fingerprints of a person. As the Aadhaar number is linked with bank account the biometric scan will act like a password for authenticating the transaction. Amount will be deducted from a bank account to which Aadhaar of a person is linked.

Actually Government of India is prepared to introduce cashless economy by facilitating financial transactions through digital devices which will use Aadhaar for the confirmation about the personal details of a person. Ajay Panday director general of “Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDIA)” said that “Aadhaar based transactions would be cashless, card less and pin less”. Android and other devices will enable a person to use their biometric signatures for authenticating a transaction. According to Ajay Panday government of India is collaborating with mobile phone manufacturers, merchants and banks for introducing biometric payment system. NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said “we are asking mobile phone manufacturers to see if all mobiles made in India should be inbuilt with Iris and Thumb identification system to help Aadhaar enabled transactions”. He further said that efforts are being made to incentivize digital transactions and disincentive cash transactions. Government is also developing a mobile phone application for shopkeepers, so as to enable them to make transactions using Aadhaar, thus bypassing cash and card transactions. According to secretory of information technology in India “Aruna Sundarajan” India will spend Rs. 100 crores for incentivizing enrollment of merchants on digital platform.
It is not necessary that a civilized society should be cashless. In Germany more than 80% of transactions involve cash, as citizen freedom and privacy is protected in such transactions. Digital economy lacks trust; it will open a way for banks and owners of digital networks to enhance their control over human race. A fully cashless economy will be a disaster for the whole world; it will only serve the interests of oligarchs who are ruling the humanity. With the full introduction of cashless economy privacy, dissent and freedom of individuals would end. Every transaction like buying, selling, travelling, medication etc. will be under the radar of government. In countries like India, there are no privacy laws and the sensitive data of citizens is also under the constant threat of hackers, intelligence agencies and big corporations. Sensitive information of person can easily be used against him, like it can be used by private corporations for targeted advertisements. Any bodies account can be blocked for any reason which can serve the interest of government or private companies. John Naughton, author of the book “From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg” said that the owners of tech companies are “robber barons” of our age. It is a digital dictatorship which has enslaved the humanity.

(An independent researcher, the writer can be reached at: mudasir.shk01@gmail.com)