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, April 29, 2018

13390 - Government admitting it misled people into linking mobile number with Aadhaar is not its only lie - Daily O


Let there be no confusion that Aadhaar is a surveillance technology for all practical purposes.


For some reason, Aadhaar has been a project that the governments of all political hues have defended vehemently. It was the UPA government that reared the monster and now it's the NDA that is feeding it. In the midst of this, Aadhaar and its data has found favours from the state government.

From Kerala to Madhya Pradesh, everyone has rushed to claim the (mostly non-existent) benefits of Aadhaar. Now as the constitutional challenge to the whole Aadhaar programme progresses in the Supreme Court, it is now being revealed the governments, and most particularly the NDA government, which is in the habit of misleading people on the nature, utility, benefits and risks of Aadhaar.

The most egregious of these claims - and the one that unravelled recently to the utter shame of the Modi government - has been the argument that Aadhaar-mobile number linking was an exercise ordered by the Supreme Court.

Whenever people pointed towards the absurdity and frustration of re-verifying and linking phone numbers with Aadhaar number, the government officials - and even ministers - said that they understood the ordeal, but it was due to the Supreme Court order.

So seriously has the government peddled this line that when the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issued the order to telecom companies to complete Aadhaar-mobile phone linking it said this was done specifically on the orders of the government.

The problem is that while the Supreme Court indeed ordered verification exercise, it didn't say Aadhaar was the only requirement. This is the point that the SC bench hearing Aadhaar case raised with the UIDAI lawyer a few days ago. "In the Lokniti Foundation case, the SC has not directed linking of SIM with UID. But the Union government's circular says so. There was no such direction from the Supreme Court, but you took it and used it as tool to make Aadhaar mandatory for mobile users," justice DY Chandrachud reportedly said. The lawyer agreed that the Supreme Court didn't specifically issue the orders to link Aadhaar with SIM cards.

In a way that is one government lie caught. But then there are many more such instances where the government has tried to mislead people on Aadhaar. The most infamous of these is that World Bank reference that notes that Aadhaar results in saving of $11 billion per year. This figure, put in a report by World Bank on the basis of an incomplete reference, has been debunked several times.

For example Reetika Khera, economist and professor at IIT Delhi, has debunked it several times. Writing in 2016, she said: "To see how the $11 billion potential savings were estimated, I looked up the source. It lists India's cash transfer programmes (NREGA, pensions, etc) and says, 'The value of these transfers is estimated to be Rs 70,000 crore ($11.3 billion) per annum.' This gives an altogether new meaning to 'savings': an elimination of the entire budget on cash transfers."

Despite the debunking though, UIDAI officials as well as ministers love citing the World Bank figure to justify Aadhaar.
Then there have been statements made in the Supreme Court in the last few weeks which not only stretch the truth to defend Aadhaar but also fly in the face of what we are seeing in reality. 

Almost all "savings due to Aadhaar" claims are suspect.

For example, recently on the claims of crores of rupees of savings in LPG distribution due to Aadhaar, International Institute for Sustainable Development wrote in a report: "Putting aside the relative merits of Aadhaar as a public policy tool, our calculations indicate that, instead of resulting in significant savings, the net fiscal impact of integrating Aadhaar into DBTL in the current financial year was likely to be minimal, and that expectations of substantial net savings in subsidy expenditure from the introduction of the Aadhaar scheme may be misplaced."

Then there are hilarious attempts to out-rightly (or ignorantly) lie about the security and misuse of Aadhaar. Or grossly inhuman way in which poor are treated in case of lack of Aadhaar or its authentication failure.

For example, lawyers defending the government and UIDAI have argued that there is not a single person in the country who has been denied benefits because of the lack of Aadhaar. This when there have been reports of people dying because they were refused their share of ration just because their old and wrinkled fingerprints couldn't be read by Aadhaar machines.

There are claims that there has been no security breach in Aadhaar data and that its servers are safe because they are behind five-feet-thick and 13-feet-high walls. 

This when almost daily a French security researcher on Twitter finds big bugs in Aadhaar and tweets about it. Similarly, people have been seemingly misled on how much data agencies like a private party get whenever they use Aadhaar for verifying someone.

And there have been tall claims made about how UIDAI can't use Aadhaar technology for surveillance, where it is easy to see that Aadhaar is a surveillance technology for all practical purposes.

The Aadhaar case in the Supreme Court is now, hopefully, in the last stages. In another couple of weeks or so we may get a verdict. But irrespective of the verdict, do remember that to defend Aadhaar the government didn't only rely on facts. It also relied on the words and claims that were at worst misleading and at best disingenuous.


Why UIDAI CEO saying '100% reliance on Aadhaar not possible' flies in the face of BJP's push for it

Why UIDAI CEO saying '100% reliance on Aadhaar not possible' flies in the face of BJP's push for it

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