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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Thursday, July 27, 2017

11658 - You may diss Aadhar opponents Mr Jaitley. But privacy concerns are genuine - Catch News


| Updated on: 25 July 2017, 17:37 IST


Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has managed a convenient spin on the privacy debate around Aadhaar. What is being contested in the name of an individual's right to privacy and the security of personal data, Jaitley has tried to paint it as tax-evasion and corruption. The minister seems to be implying, by extension, that all those who are opposing Aadhaar being made mandatory for everything under the sun are rich and corrupt tax evaders.

You find non-compliance being defended these days in the name of privacy...This is where we have to get out… The debate in favour of compliance has to be a debate based on creating a more ethical and a more compliant India,” Jaitley said in his keynote address at the Income Tax Day celebrations on 24 July.

The reference was quite obviously to the Aadhaar and privacy debate, which is right now being tackled by a 9-judge bench in the Supreme Court. Even as the hearings in that case continue, Jaitley's assertion has come as a clear indication of the government's thoughts on the issue. What his statement reflects is that the government is not just over-enthusiastic in its push for Aadhaar, it is also suspicious of every argument that highlights possible lacunae of the Aadhaar regime.

In the privacy case in the Supreme Court, petitioners are essentially arguing that linking Aadhaar with multiple aspects of an individual's life exposes the latter to violation of his privacy. 

Since the court has already held that right to privacy is not absolute, what is being debated is that can it be interpreted as a fundamental right or not. The hope is that in the event it is settled as a fundamental right, individuals can be given the option of linking their financial profile and other data with Aadhaar or not.

This is a perfectly legitimate contest, given the government's poor record in guaranteeing the safety of data collected under Aadhaar, including contact details and bio-metric details. Why the government itself recently admitted in Parliament that more than 200 government websites have published names of beneficiaries of welfare schemes with their addresses and Aadhaar numbers.

The Center for Internet and Society, a private think-tank, had claimed in May that Aadhaar numbers of over 13 crore people and bank account details of about 10 crore of them were leaked through a number of government websites.

There is definitely something amiss and until Aadhaar data can be made leak-proof what is the harm in putting the linking on hold? Since the battle is also in the highest court of the land, why not let it unfold there without attempting to create additional pressure outside? Where is the need to link this debate with tax evasion and present all voices on the other side as that of the corrupt?

This is an attempt to deliberately misguide public opinion and lead the debate astray. The idea is to create binaries of corrupt vs non-corrupt, thereby simplifying the debate so much that people will be likely to take sides conclusively, completely ignoring the nuances of privacy. The government has in any case been trying to keep the corruption debate alive through repeated mention of demonetisation and the benami assets act.

However, when it actually comes to corruption there has been little action on the ground. There has been no significant action on the Panama papers and demonetisation has neither brought top defaulters in the agencies' net nor plugged routes of money-laundering. Jaitley speaks of cleaning electoral finance but his government is being accused of making political funding more opaque than before.

What then is this misdirection about? Is the government's case falling apart in the Supreme Court? It is too early to say that, but the minister's statement does smack of frustration of sorts.