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.

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

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.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

11689 - Government cannot use Aadhaar to track citizens, UIDAI tells Supreme Court - Economic Times Bureau

By Samanwaya Rautray, ET Bureau|
Aug 02, 2017, 06.18 AM IST

The debate came up after the government claimed in court while defending the Aadhaar scheme that citizens had no fundamental right to privacy.

NEW DELHI: The government cannot track or spy on citizens using Aadhaar data as it is technically impossible, the agency that handles the biometric information told the Supreme Court on Tuesday. 

Aadhaar naysayers argue that its mandatory all-pervasive nature would make India a totalitarian state as it would give the government power to track citizens in real-time. 

“I will demonstrate that this is impossible even if the government wants to,” Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Unique Identity Development Authority of India, told a nine-judge bench which is debating whether privacy is a fundamental right or not. “The claim of surveillance, tracking does not stand,” he said. He argued that the repository of all biometrics would be a statutory body. 

Even if the government were to be empowered with a court order, it would not get details like for what purpose a person authenticated his identity, he said. 

Mehta also argued that in an online world, there was no privacy as such, whether the court holds it to be fundamental right or not. He also informed the court that the government set up a high-level committee headed by former top court judge BN Srikrishna to examine key data-protection issues and ways to deal with those. 

The debate came up after the government claimed in court while defending the Aadhaar scheme that citizens had no fundamental right to privacy. Those opposed to Aadhaar sharply contested this, prompting the chief justice to set up a nine-judge bench to adjudicate on the issue. 

Should the top court hold that it is a fundamental right, the government will have to prove that it passes the test of reasonable restrictions under which such a right can be curtailed. That will be decided by a regular bench. The government has insisted that privacy was a “valuable”, “common law” right, but not a fundamental right. 

“Not all aspects of privacy can be elevated to the status of a fundamental right,” attorney general KK Venugopal has said. Several BJP-ruled states, such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, have also espoused this view. Some Congress-ruled states and West Bengal have called upon the court to declare privacy a fundamental right. 


On Tuesday, senior advocate CA Sundaram, appearing for Maharashtra, argued that privacy was a relative concept. “A poor person may choose subsidised food grains over whether he can have a higher wall to protect his privacy,” he argued.