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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Friday, August 4, 2017

11699 - Do you want to be a Bot? - TNN

August 2, 2017, 4:31 PM IST Pritish Nandy in Extraordinary Issue | India | TOI


As someone who grew up under the shadow of 1984, George Orwell’s cult classic , I have always been terrified of being reduced to a cipher. That is why, and for no reason of politics I sidestepped Aadhar. I consider it a violation of my privacy. I have a PAN card though. But frankly I have no idea of what that means and why I have it. I rarely buy expensive stuff. And when I do, I write a cheque for it. An old habit that dies hard.
So I keep my PAN card in my wallet with my driving licence and a few credit cards I diffidently use. I take out cash from the bank twice a month and spend that. And the rest of the time I write cheques like my father used to do. I know it’s awfully old fashioned. But convenience determines choices and I am not exactly concerned too much about money– making it, spending it, or investing it. I have made other choices in my life.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t figure digital.  I do, but I am happy to step aside and let better men and women use it and benefit from it in all those wonderful ways the Government recommends. I have made my choice. And much as I am bombarded by the seductions of the digital world, I have easily resisted the thought of running off to get myself an Aadhar card just because my bankers are threatening me and my tax guy tells me I can’t file my IT returns without it.

In fact, that makes me even more cussed. I have filed my tax returns regularly for as way back as I can remember. Every member of my family (barring Mojo and Mowgli, my two four legged daughters) file their tax returns too. And I intend to do so for as long as people find it worth their while to pay me. 

Then why do I need Aadhar? I claim no benefits from the Government that I know of (no house, no car with a swirling red light on the top, no shrieking siren, no awards in a long, long time since Governments don’t like writers and journalists with a mind of their own) unless you consider the Rs 21,000 I get every month as pension for being in Parliament for six years. So why the arm twisting?

It all began with Orwell (real name: Eric Arthur Blair, born in Motihari) and though 1984 has come and gone, the threat remains. Regime after regime in different nations have tried, in different ways, to tag their citizens. The British spent a fortune on it and then gave it up, wisely. They realised there are better (and simpler) ways to catch wrongdoers than to put their entire lives on a card that can be easily hacked or stolen. Here, we don’t worry about privacy. We allow astrologers and palmists to intrude in our private lives. Vaastu guys and yoga gurus enter our homes to tell us who we are. Now Aadhar wants to do the same.

I prefer to decode myself. I have spent most of my life trying to do so. I may not have always succeeded. But that doesn’t mean Aadhar can open a window to my soul. Poetry suits me far better. Give me music or art any day.

So, dear Government, be kind, generous, wise. Stick to your mandate. Give us better roads, safer homes. Build us bridges that don’t collapse. Protect women and children from the marauding male gaze, stop mindless lynch mobs, defeat crime, build more humane prisons where inhabitants are not tortured or murdered, stop extortionists, lock away the preachers of hate and enmity but give them a fair trial first, stop corruption, stop dowry, protect the old and the ailing, help the poor get some dignity. They have been crying for it for 70 years.

Yesterday, Three Square Market, a Wisconsin tech company, implanted microchips under their employees’ skin, between the thumb and index finger. No one protested; in fact, employees love it.  Sweden’ s Epicentre, a start-up is doing the same. Companies across the world are looking at this new tech, right out of 1984, where victims no longer resent their victimhood.  Once the chip is implanted, any task involving RFID technology — swiping into the office building, paying for lunch — can be done with a mere wave of the hand.

Employees see it as a convenience. But convenience for whom? For those who control the microchip. Today it enables you to enter a building or get lunch. Tomorrow it will help you get past airport checks. But eventually your whole life will be in that microchip. It will change the employer/employee relationship. 

This raises important questions of privacy, personal identity, issues which are being argued in the Supreme Court even as you read this. Everyone claims microchips are safe, encrypted.

The Aadhar guys say the same. But in a world of consummate hackers, ranged on either side of the law, nothing is ever safe. 

More important: Who controls access?


A microchip implanted today, or a card issued could easily, in theory, be misused in the future in ways far more invasive than you and I can imagine. Think. Do you really want that to happen? You want to be a bot?