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


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.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

11655 - Can Your Aadhaar Number Be A Threat To Your Privacy? - Business World

Aadhaar exposes you to an increased risk of identity theft since your biometrics can be harvested by shopkeepers and reused without your permission


The whole debate around Aadhaar has sidelined and the right to privacy has taken centre stage. While the noble intentions behind making Aadhaar as a national identity card cannot be questioned, its vulnerability to data abuse can also not be denied. For instance, if you use your Aadhaar number to buy a SIM card, the company can use it to access all your identity information, barring your core biometrics.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government brought in Aadhaar but the incumbent National Democratic Alliance government is giving more push to Aadhaar by linking it with welfare schemes like National Action Plan for Skill Training of Persons with Disabilities, Central Sector Scholarship Schemes, Saakshar Bharat (adult literacy), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, National Health Mission, National Career Services, Support to Training and Employment Programme (women-centric entrepreneurial assistance), Ujjawala Scheme under the Protection and Empowerment of Women Scheme, and more.

Although, the government’s effort to remove middle men from the scene by bringing in Aadhaar in every space is commendable but the lack of a comprehensive privacy law is slowly becoming a worrying factor for the nation. Recently, MS Dhoni's Aadhaar number and the rest of the information were leaked and one of his ‘fans’ posted all that information on Twitter.

This is not a lone case; there have been breaches earlier as well. Many third parties (neither UIDAI nor government officials) are creating a private database with Aadhaar information and interlinking identity with other sources. Kiran Jonnalgadda, co-founder, HasGeek and Internet Freedom Foundation told BW Businessworld, “Aadhaar, with the current laws, can is vulnerable to data abuse. We need a comprehensive law. We are awaiting the Supreme Court’s verdict on privacy laws.”
Another glaring fact is that the Unique Identification Authority of India had outsourced the responsibility of collecting the data to 556 private agencies. There have been 1,390 complaints against them but the proceedings took place only in the case of Dhoni.

A senior IT expert, who wished to remain anonymous, told BW Businessworld, “Aadhaar exposes you to an increased risk of identity theft since your biometrics can be harvested by shopkeepers and reused without your permission. Further, by using the same Aadhaar number in multiple locations the government has created a system by which a 360° view of a person can be had by combining multiple databases.  For instance, a hospital and a health insurance company can combine their databases without your consent.  While this is possible even without Aadhaar, it is made easier and more accurate with Aadhaar. To prevent this from happening, we need to have a strong privacy law in India that applies to both the government and the private sector.  We also need to limit the ability of the private sector to force you to give up your biometrics.”

Aadhaar-related security breaches may leave the individual wide open to commercial exploitation and identity fraud. Aadhaar is often compared to the United States (US) Social Security Number but it must be noted that biometrics are not taken in the US and there is a law for privacy in the US as well.
Since Aadhaar is gradually becoming an identity tool for almost all purposes; the government must try to figure out some way to remove all the technical discrepancies that can make all our details transparent at an immediate basis.