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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Monday, July 10, 2017

11589 - Indian government facing privacy challenges regarding Aadhaar - Biometric Update


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July 4, 2017 - 

The Hindu ran a recent op-ed piece in which writer Sanjay Hegdet called on the Chief Justice of India to establish the larger Bench to assess privacy challenges to Aadhaar, a 12-digit unique identity number based on collected biometric information.

Last week, the Union government made it mandatory to link the Aadhaar number with the permanent account number (PAN) of a person, which would be effective starting July 1.

India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made Aadhaar mandatory for the filing of income tax returns and for linking PAN with Aadhaar to examine tax evasion using multiple PAN cards.
Hegdet compares the Supreme Court’s decision to leave the architecture of enforced surveillance in place to applying “a band-aid on a gaping wound, which required stitches if not surgery.”

“There is… no broad declaration against an overpowering state’s propensity to stretch out to every sphere to compel individual surrender of little remnants of liberty,” Hegdet writes.

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) initially started Aadhaar for the sole purpose of confirming the unique identities of Indian citizens, with the authority resisting any attempt by government departments to overstretch this mandate.
However, there has been an increasing number of service providers over the years seeking linkages to the data. As a result, the government has increased the number of government agencies and other organizations that could enforce Aadhaar-based identity as a lone requirement for verifying the user.

Additionally, Hegdet argues that the Indian government has deliberately misconstrued an earlier Supreme Court ruling to convince telecom companies into making Aadhaar a requirement for all mobile phone users.

In August 2015, the Supreme Court referred the privacy challenges to Aadhaar to a larger Bench of potentially nine judges. Nearly two years later, the court has yet to make a decision regarding this issue.The government has also used education and health services to expand the Aadhaar net and bring more people under the system.

Hegdet emphasizes that the court needs to rule on whether the right to privacy is an established part of the fundamental right in India.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi asserted at a hearing before three judges that based on judgements in two previous cases, the legal position regarding the existence of the fundamental right to privacy is “doubtful.”

He then said that the “right to privacy” deemed to be accepted by subsequent smaller Benches “resulted in a jurisprudentially impermissible divergence of judicial opinions”.

The court stated the “opinion that the cases on hand raise far reaching questions of importance involving interpretation of the Constitution.”