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

Friday, April 27, 2018

13367 - Who Has More of Your Personal Data Than Facebook? Try Google - WSJ




Google gathers more personal data than Facebook does, by almost every measure—so why aren’t we talking about it?

Amid rising alarm about the personal data companies might be collecting without our knowledge, Alphabet’s Google, with an office in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, might be as much, if not more, of a concern as Facebook.
PHOTO: SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGES

By Christopher Mims
April 22, 2018 8:00 a.m. ET


Recent controversy over Facebook Inc.’s FB -2.02% hunger for personal data has surfaced the notion that the online advertising industry could be hazardous to our privacy and well-being.

As justifiable as the focus on Facebook has been, though, it isn’t the full picture. If the concern is that companies might be collecting some personal data without our knowledge or explicit consent, Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL -0.26% Google is a far bigger threat by many measures: the volume of information it gathers, the reach of its tracking and the time people spend on its sites and apps.

New regulations, particularly in Europe, are driving Google and others to disclose more and seek more permissions from users. And given the choice, many people might even be fine with the trade-off of personal data for services. Still, to date few of us realize the extent to which our data is being collected and used.

“There is a systemic problem and it’s not limited to Facebook,” says Arvind Narayanan, a computer scientist and assistant professor at Princeton University. The larger problem, he argues, is that the very business model of these companies is geared to privacy violation. We need to understand Google’s role in this.

How Google harvests data
Lawmakers and others have asked Facebook about so-called shadow profiles—data the company gathers on people without Facebook accounts. The company doesn’t use the term but does track nonusers.

It’s likely that Google has shadow profiles on at least as many people as Facebook does, says Chandler Givens, chief executive of TrackOff, which develops software to fight identity theft. Google allows everyone, whether they have a Google account or not, to opt out of its ad targeting. Yetlike Facebook, it continues to gather your data.

If lawmakers really want to understand online advertising and data harvesting, they might want to speak with Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google, who was a speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January.
PHOTO: JASON ALDEN/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Google Analytics is far and away the web’s most dominant analytics platform. Used on the sites of about half of the biggest companies in the U.S., it has a total reach of 30 million to 50 million sites. Google Analytics tracks you whether or not you are logged in.

Meanwhile, the billion-plus people who have Google accounts are tracked in even more ways. In 2016, Google changed its terms of service, allowing it to merge its trove of tracking and advertising data with the personally identifiable information from our Google accounts.

Google uses, among other things, our browsing and search history, apps we’ve installed, demographics such as age and gender and, from its own analytics and other sources, where we’ve shopped in the real world. Google says it doesn’t use information from “sensitive categories” such as race, religion, sexual orientation or health. Because it relies on cross-device tracking, it can spot logged-in users no matter which device they’re on.

This is why Google and Facebook are dominant in online advertising. By pouring huge amounts of our personal data into the latest artificial-intelligence technology, they can determine who—and where—we really are, whether or not we reveal ourselves voluntarily.

Google fuels even more data harvesting through its dominant ad marketplaces. There are as many as 4,000 data brokers in the U.S., and collectively they know everything about us we might otherwise prefer they didn’t—whether we’re pregnant, divorced or trying to lose weight. Google works with some of these brokers directly but the company says it vets them to prevent targeting based on sensitive information.

Google is the biggest enabler of data harvesting on mobile devices, through the world’s two billion active Android devices. Shown, the Android pavilion at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. PHOTO: SIMON DAWSON/BLOOMBERG NEWS

While data brokers can sell this information to insurers, employers and anyone else who might be interested, many of their customers are marketers who need another component: Google’s AI, which delivers “look alike” audiences—people similar to the ones found in the brokers’ data.

How Android funnels data
Google also is the biggest enabler of data harvesting, through the world’s two billion active Android mobile devices. Because Google’s Android OS helps companies gather data on us, then Google is also partly to blame when troves of that data are later used improperly, says Woodrow Hartzog, a professor of law and computer science at Northeastern University.

A good example of this is the way Facebook has continuously harvested Android users’ call and text history. Facebook never got this level of access from Apple Inc.’s iPhone, whose operating system is designed to permit less under-the-hood data collection. Android OS often allows apps to request rich data from users without accompanying warnings about how the data might be used.

To be listed in Google’s Android app store, developers must agree to request only the information they need. But that doesn’t stop them from using “needed” data for additional purposes.

Designers call the ways marketers and developers cajole and mislead us into giving up our data “dark patterns,” tactics that exploit flaws and limits in our cognition.

Google bans what it calls deceptive requests for user data, such as obscuring opt-out buttons. At issue is whether Google goes far enough. But Google itself uses what are arguably dark patterns to get people to switch to its own apps for things such as email and web browsing.

Android users of the Gmail app will be asked to enable access to the device’s camera and microphone again and again until they say yes. Similarly, on Android, Google Maps asks users to turn on location services—justifiable, sure, but this enables geo-targeted ads.

All of this is ostensibly done with your permission. But it’s hard to understand how even an expert could give meaningful informed consent to the average data request, says Dr. Narayanan.

New European Union privacy rules are forcing companies to make comprehensible to mere mortals what data they gather and how they use it. But in many cases, Google is pushing responsibility for obtaining data-gathering permissions to advertisers.

Will Google take responsibility?
It isn’t as if Google is unaware of the issues inherent in its business model. The company opposes the California Consumer Privacy Act, a November ballot measure, on the grounds that it is vague and unworkable. It would grant consumers three basic protections: “the right to tell a business not to share or sell your personal information, the right to know where and to whom your data is being sold or shared, and the right to know that your service providers are protecting your information.” Even Facebook dropped its opposition to this act.

The solution might be simple: Build better tools to give us a clear understanding of what we’re opting into. If given clear choices, many people might be fine with their data being collected. But it’s just as likely they would refuse, in ways that could affect Google’s bottom line.

Write to Christopher Mims at christopher.mims@wsj.com