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

11645 - A billion Indian identities and more at stake in privacy case - Economic Times

A billion Indian identities and more at stake in privacy case




India’s top court is considering whether privacy is a fundamental right of every citizen in a case that could have implications for the country’s biometric identity program and a slew of global technology companies. 

Activists, lawyers and politicians have challenged the government over the legal basis of the program known as Aadhaar, with the Supreme Court in New Delhi to decide if the system should be thrown out or modified. 

Conceived as a way to curb the siphoning off of welfare meant for the poor, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pushed the system’s adoption into uses spanning buying a phone, getting utilities connected or conducting financial transactions online. Any changes could impact companies from Microsoft Corp. to Samsung Electronics Co., which have integrated Aadhaar into their products, while a new interpretation of privacy can affect Google and Facebook Inc.. 

Some critics want to limit Aadhaar to specific purposes so that personal data and information collected by the government doesn’t go into a central database that can then be leaked or used elsewhere. 

“My surrender of a fingerprint to unlock my iPhone is not for anything else except opening my iPhone," said lawyer Sajan Poovayya, who represents lawmaker and entrepreneur Rajeev Chandrasekhar, one of the petitioners. 

“My surrender of a fingerprint to unlock my iPhone is not for anything else except opening my iPhone," said lawyer Sajan Poovayya, who represents lawmaker and entrepreneur Rajeev Chandrasekhar, one of the petitioners. 

Fingerprints, Iris Scans 
Under Aadhaar, which means foundation in Hindi, the unique ID authority has spent seven years collecting fingerprints and iris and facial scans, as well as addresses, phone numbers and personal details of more than 1.1 b .. 

In India, anything considered a “fundamental right” has constitutional protection and can’t be taken away except under a few rare exceptions such as national security. The government has maintained that privacy is not a fundamental right and an individual’s right to their body isn’t absolute. 

During three days of arguments, some judges have questioned how privacy could be enforced as a fundamental right when Google and Facebook extensively collect user data. 

“When one can share personal data with private players like Apple, why not share it with the government? What’s the difference?" Justice D.Y. Chandrachud of the nine-judge panel asked during the hearing. “The moment you want to travel from Mumbai to Delhi, you will get 100 suggestions. Your private and personal data is in private hands, so is there anything qualitatively different when the state has it?” 

Poovayya responded that just because a private company has access to an individual’s data, or it is in the public domain, it isn’t an argument against a right to privacy. 

The hearings will continue this week, when the government will present its side of the case, with a ruling expected in subsequent weeks. 

Surrendering Data 
Private companies have enthusiastically adopted Aadhaar, using it to authenticate job seekers, blood donors and loan applicants. Samsung offers devices with Aadhaar-compliant iris scanners embedded while Microsoft integrated the biometrics into its Skype video-chatting service so users can authenticate themselves using the government database. 

Some of the arguments against Aadhaar have focused on the government’s decision to make enrollment compulsory to receive welfare benefits. Another concern raised is that data could be used to track a person’s movements and transactions. Petitioners cited several instances of numbers and personal details being leaked or sold online. 

While legal recourse is typically available when a private company mishandles personal data, it’s more complicated when it involves the government. 

“My informed surrender of data to a private player in this digital age is not my surrender of my personal data to all,” said lawyer Poovayya. “But if I give it to the state, where are the corresponding restrictions and deterrents?” 



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