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

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

13407 - We need Aadhaar, not just for phones - Financial Express

While there is an SC ruling, by a smaller bench, on the need to link Aadhaar and mobiles, this is not the real issue
By: Sunil Jain | Published: April 30, 2018 4:09 AM

Most recognise that the fact that Aadhaar biometrics being unique has ensured the 50%+ levels of theft in PDS rations has all but been eliminated.

Ever since the five-judge Constitution bench judging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar said, on Wednesday, that the Supreme Court had never directed that mobile phones be linked to Aadhaar numbers—when the government ordered this last year in March, it said it was the result of an SC order—all hell has broken loose and it even looks as if the Court may be veering around to putting various restrictions on the use of Aadhaar in the manner civil society activists are demanding. More so given that the judges have been very concerned over whether Aadhaar data can be stolen in the manner that Cambridge Analytica did with Facebook data.

Though the Attorney General has, since, told the bench that he will demonstrate that the government action had actually followed the SC order—of a smaller bench, though—not surprisingly, many are of the view that the government cheated them into doing something it wanted.

In the Lokniti Foundation case, where the petitioner wanted a means to verify mobile phone subscribers, and the government said it had launched Aadhaar-based e-KYC for new connections—the affidavit said Aadhaar authentication was not mandatory—the bench comprising CJI JS Khehar and Justice NV Ramana said, on February 6, 2017, “in view of the factual position brought to our notice during the course of hearing, we are satisfied, that the prayers made in the writ petition have been substantially dealt with”.

And, on December 15, 2017, the same five-judge bench was dealing with interim orders and referred to the Lokniti order and said, “the process of completing the e-KYC process is to be completed by 6 February 2018”. It then accepted the government’s decision to extend the e-KYC period till March 31, 2018, while making it clear that “the above arrangement shall continue to operate pending the disposal of the proceedings before the Constitution Bench”.

It is entirely possible that the Constitution Bench may veer around to the view that Aadhaar should only be used for targeting of subsidies and benefits—indeed, the Act is called The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act. But before this is even contemplated, both the Court and those opposed to extending Aadhaar must recognise the major benefits of Aadhaar, which is why it is being extended to mobile phones, bank accounts and income tax PAN numbers. Also, it has to understand that comparing Aadhaar with Facebook or any such platform is totally erroneous.

* Most recognise that the fact that Aadhaar biometrics being unique has ensured the 50%+ levels of theft in PDS rations has all but been eliminated. It is true there have been cases of people whose fingerprints are not getting captured and who are being denied ration benefits, but the solution to this is not eliminating a system that is working, but to use iris scans or facial recognition to fix this problem. In the case of LPG, similarly, using the Aadhaar de-duplication software helped eliminate those with more than one LPG connection.

* It is not clear why this was not thought of when Aadhaar was conceived of originally, but once Aadhaar’s capabilities were obvious, it made sense to extend the use. It is well known, for instance, that there are a very large number of fake PAN numbers. This is important because, under the law, people making certain high-value transactions are asked to give their PAN details; the information is then given to the taxman which compares this with their returns. Naturally, when the PAN are fake, the taxman does not get the data. Mandating the linking of PAN with Aadhaar was the logical thing to do.

* As part of this process, people have to declare all their bank accounts to the taxman and the earlier way to do this was to link all bank accounts with PAN. But with the prevalence of fake PAN cards, the move turned out to be ineffective. Linking bank accounts with Aadhaar was the logical conclusion.

* In the case of mobile phones, as the Lokniti petition pointed out, given the fact that terrorists and other criminals use mobile phones—the SIMs are bought using fake IDs—it makes perfect sense to ensure the owner can be traced by using Aadhaar that cannot be faked since, when the purchase is made, a biometric check is performed.

How different is Aadhaar from Facebook, and can its data be compromised? While Aadhaar authentication takes place for, say, a bank transfer, the details of the data do not travel to the Aadhaar server but remain with the bank. Ditto for a ration shop transaction … So, there is no question of Aadhaar ever being used to profile anyone.

What of the personal data Aadhaar collects like names, age, sex, phone numbers, etc? There have been several cases of these being leaked, including on government websites. This is a bit more complex, though there are obvious double standards being employed since banks or credit card companies are not being asked to shut down for such breaches, nor have companies like Yahoo! or Facebook where even passwords were stolen. While the Aadhaar authorities have been quite pro-active in discovering fraud—the Aadhaar Act specifies penalties for such breaches—they need to continue to be alert, but it is also important to keep in mind a lot of personal information is available even today on many government websites; the Election Commission has many personal details that can be accessed by anyone and even property details can be accessed on several municipal corporation websites.


Restricting Aadhaar usage to just the payment of subsidies and other such transfers for the poor is always an option but it robs the country of the ability to use the robust properties of Aadhaar.