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, July 26, 2017

11638 - Forthcoming Supreme Court decision on right to privacy one of the most important legal decisions in the world this year - TNNBlog

By Eben Moglen and Mishi Choudhary

Last week’s arguments before a nine-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court, which is at long last deciding whether Indian citizens have a fundamental right to privacy, have established two realities clearly. First, the judges see the profound importance of any decision to create such a fundamental right. Second, they would like to know just what the outlines of this right should be.

Privacy is, as Brandeis and Warren said in 1894, “the right most valued by civilised men”, “the right to be left alone”. But in our age, the age of the internet, the right to be left alone includes also the right not to be put out there, or exposed involuntarily. 

Forced disclosure of the information that comprises our identities, in the age of biometric identification, social profiles, and cashless economic transactions, damages an essential component of all personal liberties. Whether the individual’s information is used on its own, or is analysed, profiled, or linked in the “social graph” to that of other related persons, forced disclosure of personal information in today’s society creates power in the state which receives that information.

Not all of the constitutional right of privacy cases in the age of the internet will involve forced disclosures. The cases that will matter most, should the court decide in favour of the fundamental right, will be where the government imposes a form of disclosure that, like limitations on physical movement, inhibits the “ability to be oneself”.

In these cases, the court would find that the fundamental right to privacy is infringed when forced disclosures of personal information to government interfere with the exercise of any of the freedoms the Article 19 protects, when you cannot actually have your freedom of movement, or of expression, for example, because you are compelled to give information that empowers government to restrict or deny your rights.

So, for example, if the government were to do here what the Chinese government has done since the death of Liu Xiaobo, not only blocking messages of mourning or containing pictures of Liu on WeChat (the Chinese equivalent of WhatsApp), but also keeping track for subsequent surveillance of everyone sending or receiving such messages, this surveillance based on private expressions of emotion or opinion would violate the freedom of expression in Article 19.

The same applies to the liberties guaranteed by Article 21. Where, for example, an Aadhaar number is required before a patient can request ambulance service, as has been ordered recently in UP, the right to medical care protecting life declared by the Supreme Court in Parmanand Katara vs the Union of India is violated by the compelled disclosure of identity.

We think that, if the Supreme Court decides the present issues fully, it will find that the common factors in all successful constitutional privacy claims are (1) the forced disclosure of personal information; (2) under circumstances adversely affecting an individual’s ability to exercise freedoms protected by Article 19 or liberties guaranteed by Article 21. Also, under the terms of Article 14, that all persons must be equally treated with respect to requirements of personal information disclosure, without discrimination.

The importance of a fundamental right in our system is that it can only be enforced against the state. “Platform” social media companies receive voluntary disclosures of personal information in immense quantities every minute, but they are not subject to constitutional controls. Moreover, though these corporates are indeed ubiquitous in our lives, they are not obligatory. In dealing with them, we still have choices. Only the power of the state can, in fact, compel us to expose ourselves more fully than we choose to do. The state can as well, of course, legislate to protect our privacy against private parties, and should do so.

The forthcoming decision of the Supreme Court will be one of the most important legal decisions in the world this year. Societies far beyond India will be watching to see what it decides. India will, as a result of the Supreme Court’s judgment, take the lead among democracies in recognising and enforcing its citizens’ fundamental right to privacy, or fall in line behind despotic societies in destroying it.

Eben Moglen is Professor of Law and Legal History at Columbia Law School. Mishi Choudhary is Legal Director and President of SFLC.in