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

Monday, May 7, 2018

13469 - How long can its captain – UIDAI – continue to deny the Aadhaar leaks? - News Click


Newsclick Report 04 May 2018


A few days back, Asia Times and Medium, a popular website reported on security holes in the Aadhaar system. Saikat Datta wrote that a number of people have warned the UID Authority of this hole, without getting any response. Today, the French security expert, who goes by the twitter handle Elliot Alderson @fs0c131y and had earlier exposed a number of security breaches in the Aadhaar and government websites, has tweeted the details of a YouTube video that shows a software that can be used to edit the personal data of anybody enrolled in the Aadhaar system; that too without any security checks! And to add insult to the injury – for UIDAI – the person who posted the video is asking those who liked his video for contributions to his PayTM account.



Is the video fake? If it is, we can heave a sigh of relief. The problem is that very similar complaints have been made by various people to UIDAI without any response, indicating that this software is available for as little as Rs. 500. Anand Venkatanarayanan, in his Medium piece , has also explained why a software – called ECMP (Aadhaar Enrolment Client Multiplatform) software – that resides in the e-Kendra computers, can be hacked more easily. And if it is hacked, it will allow any change in the personal data of the person enrolled in the Aadhaar database. This means the mapping between the biometric and the personal data can be changed.

UIDAI’s contention is that the biometric database cannot be hacked and remains behind secure walls (13 feet high according to the Attorney General). The problem is not that the ridges and whorls of our fingers are safely stored, but whether the name and other details, attached to the fingerprints, are truly mine. If they are not secure and can be changed by buying a Rs 500 software, it means identity theft can occur on a mass scale. And more service providers are added to the Aadhaar system, more potential of holes for such identity thefts. This is the central risk of the Aadhaar system. And our nightmare.

We have been warning the government in our columns and videos, why the Aadhaar system is a poor one and will not lead to any foolproof identity verification system. If biometrics are used, poor connectivity, lack of electricity, apart from at least 10% of biometrics like fingerprints not being verifiable, will defeat the system. If biometrics are dispensed with, the Aadhaar ID proof is as good as self-certification. Why then, are tens of thousands of crores being spent on the system?

The logic of the system lies elsewhere. Yes, Aadhaar system leaks like a sieve. It is capable of being bypassed in various ways. Yes, people who are legitimate beneficiaries of various systems are being denied their dues or rations, as the biometric system does not work properly.

So what is the purpose of Aadhaar? For the government, it provides a method of collecting a huge amount of information of the citizens: religion, caste, geotagging of their houses, collating it with their income and expenditures, etc. This is a surveillance tool that can be used against individuals and communities. For a government that is against a particular section, it can be used to bypass from development in certain areas, where a particular community may be staying. For big Indian capitalists, such as Ambanis, it provides the tool of big data at government expense. Once such big data is available, the capitalists can tap into it in various ways. This is why, from a Nilekani to an Ambani, all of them have lined up behind Aadhaar.

Unfortunately for both the government and big capitalists, the ecosystem of Aadhaar, as engineered and deployed, is so poor that it is likely to fail. Sooner rather than later. Even if the Supreme Court does not strike it down on our privacy violations.

The Aadhaar system is increasingly looking like a ship with a large number  of holes. How long can its captain – UIDAI – continue to deny these leaks? And how long will we pump in good money after the bad?