Aadhaar

The UIDAI has taken two successive governments in India and the entire world for a ride. It identifies nothing. It is not unique. The entire UID data has never been verified and audited. The UID cannot be used for governance, financial databases or anything. It’s use is the biggest threat to national security since independence. – Anupam Saraph 2018

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 scholarUsha Ramanathandescribes 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

In the Supreme Court, Meenakshi Arora, one of the senior counsel in the case, compared it to living under a general, perpetual, nation-wide criminal warrant.

Had never thought of it that way, but living in the Aadhaar universe is like living in a prison. All of us are treated like criminals with barely any rights or recourse and gatekeepers have absolute power on you and your life.

Announcing the launch of the#BreakAadhaarChainscampaign, culminating with events in multiple cities on 12th Jan. This is the last opportunity to make your voice heard before the Supreme Court hearings start on 17th Jan 2018. In collaboration with @no2uidand@rozi_roti.

UIDAI's security seems to be founded on four time tested pillars of security idiocy

1) Denial

2) Issue fiats and point finger

3) Shoot messenger

4) Bury head in sand.

God Save India

Sunday, January 28, 2018

12798 - Giving Aadhaar the finger - Times of India


Himanshi Dhawan | Jan 28, 2018, 01:30 IST

While it may not be a wide uprising, sections of middle-class India have woken up to the flip side of Aadhaar in recent months, thanks to the efforts of a determined bunch of people who've been up in arms against government notifications making the unique identification number mandatory to access bank accounts, pay taxes, use mobile phones and loads of other services. So who is this motley crew? Sunday Times surveys the main camp of Aadhaar opposition

SOCIAL ACTIVISTS 

Aadhaar's dangers were flagged as early as 2010 by legal researcher Usha Ramanathan, activists like Bezwada Wilson and Aruna Roy, and economists like Jean Dreze and Reetika Khera, who petitioned the courts about food and welfare benefits being denied to those in need. In 2016-2017, the government made Aadhaar mandatory to access PDS, midday meals, maternity benefits, and supplementary nutrition for young children. Living and working among rural communities in Jharkhand gave Dreze an insight into how Aadhaar, which began as a voluntary facility, had become a "coercive and invasive project.'' Dreze says: "I had early opportunities to witness the hassles that Aadhaar authentication often creates for poor people. So I started questioning the project, at least in its current form." 

Anjali Bhardwaj, an activist with NCPRI and Rozi Roti Abhiyan working in Delhi, found that as early as 2013, the Sheila Dikshit government had made Aadhaar mandatory for marriage certificates, land ownership and other documents. "At that time the scheme was sold on the pretext that if you have no other form of identification, you can get Aadhaar,'' she recalls. 

Reetika Khera | Economist 

Biggest problem with Aadhaar I used to say Aadhaar is a remedy in search of a disease; now, I say that the remedy is worse than the disease. It is denying people their entitlements, and exclusions are being presented as savings 

What is the fix? At the very least, it must be made voluntary. Those coerced into it must be allowed to opt out 

The LEGAL EAGLES 

The first challenge to Aadhaar came in 2012, when former judge Justice K Puttaswamy filed a writ petition arguing that it violated the right to privacy and had no legislative backing. 2013 was a year of heavy challenges, with eight petitions being filed. Four more were subsequently filed in 2014 and five in 2015. 

Another 12 challenges have cropped up since the government passed the Aadhaar Act in 2016. Now there are 26 petitions before the Supreme Court with about 12 senior lawyers, including Gopal Subramanium, Shyam Divan, Meenakshi Arora, Arvind Datar and Anand Grover assisted by nearly 60 others. Most are working pro-bono. 

Divan, whose oratory and arguments in the case have won him some new fans, is so committed to the cause he does not even have an Aadhaar number yet. As an independent lawyer, Apar Gupta's interest was piqued in July 2015, when the government argued that citizens did not have an absolute right to privacy. "It was a key moment,'' he recalls. Gupta has been assisting the senior counsels in the case and tweeting the legal twists and turns. Lawyer Gautam Bhatia's handle has livetweeted legal proceedings, arguments by the government, the Aadhaar critics and court observations. 

Apar Gupta | Lawyer 

Biggest problem It is a tech-based solution that makes over-ambitious promises and does not respect the civil rights of an individual 

What is the fix? The government must acknowledge that Aadhaar, in its current form, has too many problems. It needs to consider expert views. The UK had also created an ID project, and then spent more money to scrap it 

DATA/TECH GEEKS 

First, Bengaluru police published 13,000 call records online for a hackathon in October 2015, and then even the local pub started demanding Aadhaar for entry. This was enough to send alarm bells ringing among the data security community in Bengaluru. Internet researcher Srinivas Kodali, digital rights activist Anivar Aravind and others like him have been relentless in flagging off Aadhaar-related technical glitches, like the potential storing and cloning of biometrics. For Anand Venkatanarayanan, software engineer and privacy buff, curiosity turned into active disquiet in early 2017 when UIDAI announced that the 12-digit number was mandatory for the mid-day meal scheme. Around the same time, his five-year-old son ended up with a few missing fingerprints because of skin grafting to fix an injury. "Obviously I have more skin in the game than anyone else to understand the issues around biometric enrolment and authentication failures as even schools were demanding Aadhaar for admission,'' he says. 

Srinivas Kodali | Internet Researcher 

Biggest problem Data sharing by the government without individual consent 

What's the fix? Allow Aadhaar as just one form of identification 

THE MEME MISSIONARIES 

Anyone heard the Ajit joke: "Robert, iska Aadhaar destroy kar do. Bina Aadhaar ke yeh zinda laash banke reh jayega"? Or the one about PM Modi advising Virushka to get an Aadhaar if they want their marriage recognised? Aadhaar critics got their big public boost after some social media influencers stepped up the game with memes, WhatsApp jokes, Twitter handles like @no2UID, and videos that grabbed attention. Political analyst Meghnad S, @memeghnad on Twitter, says that his antennae went up after the concerns raised by the parliamentary committee headed by former cabinet minister Yashwant Sinha, and interactions with social activists. "Some of us started talking online about the systemic flaws," the 28-year-old says. Soon, the jokes were in full flow on #Aadhaarmemes. Sarcasm was a potent response to new reports about bank access and emergency medical care hinging on Aadhaar. Rachita Taneja, the 26-year-old creator of the web comic Sanitary Panels, sees Aadhaar as a human rights issue. She took on Amazon India for demanding mandatory Aadhaar-linking to investigate a lost or damaged package. Soon, reports started pouring in of other companies forcing users to link Aadhaar. This is the popular face of the Aadhaar resistance, supplementing the behind-the-scenes research and activism. Says Nikhil Pahwa, founder of Medianama and social influencer, who had also helmed the public campaign for net neutrality: "It is my civic duty to push for better policy and implementation. We need more people to get involved, because Aadhaar impacts us all." 

Rachita Taneja | Web Comic Creator 

Biggest problem Recent data breaches show that our data is up for grabs and our privacy is not upheld 

What is the fix? The question we should be asking is, can Aadhaar be fixed at all? 

PHOREN FACTOR 

Former CIA employee and whistleblower Edward Snowden and Microsoft regional director and data security expert Troy Hunt have bolstered Aadhaar critics. In the last fortnight, Snowden said the programme was an "improper gate to service". He also expressed fears about private companies storing personal databases with Aadhaar details. Hunt, on the other hand, wrote a piece describing the claim of Aadhaar being hack-proof as "ludicrous". He points out that there are only "degrees of security and never an absolute position of security". 

Troy Hunt | Data Security Expert 

Biggest problem Government's assumption that Aadhaar is hack-proof and secure

What is the fix? Handle consumer concern better, control messaging and be more receptive to feedback. Acknowledge the reality that all systems have risks and that yes, it's possible Aadhaar may be hacked 

TOP COMMENT
Aadhaar is not a novel experiment by Indian government! It is similar to many such processes all Over the world. Hacking aadhaar doesn't make any difference whatsoever as hacking of PAN numbers has PAN numbers has never been a problem. It is mandatory for nation. To all those fools who will rant obscenities against PM MODI, get well soon.
Gagan Saini