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

Thursday, May 3, 2018

13430 - Aadhaar biometric data is 100% secure, asserts India’s cybersecurity chief Gulshan Rai - The Hindu


MAY 01, 2018 22:20 IST


Chief Information Security Officer in the Prime Minister's Office Gulshan Rai.   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

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Increasing cyberthreats are due to too much outsourcing by the banking industry, notes Gulshan Rai

Despite a series of government website failures, and the Supreme Court hearings over Aadhaar data security and privacy, India’s cybersecurity chief, Chief Information Security Officer in the Prime Minister's Office Gulshan Rai tells The Hindu he is confident of India’s cybersecurity systems, and says the government, consumers and civil society must work closer to ensure a balance between national security and privacy is maintained.

There have been a spate of incidents involving government run websites, including the Defence Ministry website, NICNET failures, and the Supreme court website being hacked. What is the reason for this?

There are several trends when it comes to cybersecurity that are leading to these attacks or incidents. The proliferation of IT is increasing in all sectors, including government, industry, everywhere. CERT has seen about one lakh reported cyber incidents in the past year, and the number is rising definitely. The financial sector has emerged as the place the most cyber incidents occur, then the government sector, then others. One startling trend is the spike in cases of cyber incidents in the medical sector.

Indians are facing increasing cyberthreats with bank accounts and identity details being hacked. How are you helping them?

I agree that cases are rising, but it must be remembered that the weakness in the banking industry is due to too much outsourcing for services. These are the weak links that criminals exploit to identify customers who can be taken advantage of. The fact is that technological hacks are less than human fraud in these cases, and consumers need to be better educated about the risks of fraud if they want to protect themselves.
The people who are most vulnerable are those lacking such education. Is the government then pushing too far and fast with its digitalisation goals?

No, there is no contradiction. The government is creating a massive awareness programme, pushing banks to advertise to educate consumers not to give away private information. 

Particularly after demonetisation, we have more than 2.8 billion e-transactions per day. Obviously, people have faith in these transactions. So transactions are increasing, and we need to do more to protect people, but consumers must do their bit too.
One of the big concerns on privacy and security comes from the Aadhaar database. In court, the government said there is “ten foot wall” to protect Aadhaar data, which raised many laughs, but on a serious note, how secure is the Aadhaar data of every Indian?

Yes, it is secure, one hundred per cent. Ultimately, what do you mean by the Aadhar database? There are two parts to it: the demographic data (name, age, address etc) and the biometric database. When people speak of security, they are referring to the biometric database. So far there have been no cases of biometric leaks. The central part has the maximum security, and is kept behind several rings of protection. Even with the worst cases of leaks that have appeared publicly, none have touched this central part. When Jio was attacked, it was their database that leaked, not the Aadhaar database.

But Jio has access to the Aadhaar database, as do others that need Aadhar authentication or “bridging” services?

Yes, but it is their databases that need to be secured better. We do 180 crore (18 million) of Aadhaar authentications everyday, how many breaches have been reported in comparison. I would say that accusations are far more than the reality. It is important for civil society groups to point out places where the government needs to improve, but it is necessary that they do it in a constructive manner.

Shouldn’t these input and authentication services also be taken care of by government agencies then? Does the Aadhaar act, which includes the provision of outsourcing to these companies (Section 8(4)) need to be amended?

These are places where we need to learn from experience, and Aadhaar has already moved to tighten its systems, and weed out such companies where there may be any problem. Let us remember that many countries want us to help them build their database. Why would they, if our system was not secure? We are the only country that has a 10-finger (biometric) database.
You have expressed such confidence, yet you have been quoted as saying you don’t use netbanking and I see you carry a small phone, not a smartphone. How confident are you personally about cybersecurity systems, and what precautions would you suggest to all?


My personal philosophy is that we must reduce our surface of risk. I do use netbanking, but I reduce my risk by using it for a separate account where I keep a small amount, not connected to my main account where I conduct internet transactions. What I said was that I don’t do any international internet banking, because I don’t believe we can control those transactions. I use a smartphone, but only when necessary.