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, May 13, 2018

13522 - The return to meaning: The long road back from Aadhaar - National Herald


The return to meaning: The long road back from Aadhaar

RAGHU
Published: May 13th 2018, 12.59 PM




                    Photo courtesy: social media


Will we place our blind faith in a system that seeks to tie every aspect of our lives, no matter how unrelated, into a neat bouquet waiting to welcome anyone who wants to hack their way into control?

“One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them” Ring Verse, J.R.R. Tolkien

Amid the long, long struggle to defend civil liberties against the Aadhaar onslaught, we have seen a nationwide churn possibly for the first time since Emergency. Even if there has been a far greater urban-rural divide in the understanding and acceptance of Aadhaar, the debate has spanned both population groups. The resistance to enrolling or, where relevant, linking Aadhaar to various services, has been mixed for obvious reasons. For the poverty-stricken, the fight is not simply against Aadhaar, it is about ensuring the right to life, dignity, and livelihood.

The loss of PDS rations and MNREGA wages (Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016) for want of an Aadhaar must be seen as the State waging war against the poorest of the poor – if not in intent, certainly in implementation. That the central and state governments have consistently failed to prevent such losses only worsens their crime.

The Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench hearing the clutch of Aadhaar petitions also seems ambivalent on the use of Aadhaar in disbursing subsidies and welfare schemes. Aadhaar’s creep into financial and cellular services has already seen theft of significant sums of money. The true magnitude of Aadhaar-enabled financial crime is yet to be gauged, as many mostly urban and otherwise unaffected citizens have resisted linking Aadhaar with their bank accounts (and mobile phones). Even here, the government has been complicit in recklessly expanding the reach of Aadhaar, with either no official direction or directions founded on spurious facts. These lies have been exposed in the SC hearing and, as a consequence, Aadhaar linking is no longer required for mobile services while the UIDAI itself suspended the e-KYC services provided to some financial firms. This only conveys the impression that the government, together with the UIDAI and other interested parties such as the Indian Software Product IndustryRoundtable (iSPIRT), hoped to ram Aadhaar down the throats of unsuspecting public under the guise of fine-tuning welfare delivery. To quote the eloquent words of Dr Reetika Khera, welfare needs Aadhaar like a fish needs a bicycle. The reams of research conducted by her and other people which repeatedly point to the failure and even incapacity of Aadhaar to address the problems of welfare have not only been ignored, but have been derided as empty criticism. In effect, we have been asked to trust Aadhaar and its parent UIDAI rather than traditional human trust, than dedicated research, than existing robust technologies aimed at preventing financial fraud – worst of all, than even existing law and order mechanisms! The sort of society that we are expected to become by willingly adopting Aadhaar seems to be straight out of the pages of dystopian fiction – citizens distrustful of each other and the State, the State more than willing to surveil such citizenry.

The question, as the writer Arundhati Roy asks, is what shall we love? Will we place our blind faith in a system that seeks to tie every aspect of our lives, no matter how unrelated, into a neat bouquet waiting to welcome anyone who wants to hack their way into control? Are we so enamoured by the promise of digital riches – as Messrs.

Ambani and Nilekani apparently seem to be – that we overturn even the most fundamental promises that underpin human society? Data might very well be the new oil, but humans do not still possess the ability to digest oil, letalone data? Whether or not the Supreme Court strikes down this blatantly unconstitutional - and brazenly bulldozed – law, the larger questions hang in the balance for us as citizens. What is the meaning of us, as a society, as a country, if we do not question even those State actions that affect us so fundamentally and profoundly? Are we so willing to surrender our fundamental freedoms in exchange for some vaguely defined, barely comprehensible promise of a digital Utopia? Will we let Aadhaar seal our servitude to our digital devices, ensuring we never look up again to confront the dissolution of meaning facing us? In my meagre attempts at trying to build public awareness, I have had the privilege of interacting with Dr Khera, Dr Usha Ramanathan, and several others who have spent a lifetime working with passion in diverse fields – only to be brought into an unlikely Tolkien-esque “fellowship” because of Aadhaar which, much like the fictional One Ring, threatens to bind us in the darkness of digital tyranny. That their work – and their warnings – fall on deaf ears should trouble every one of us.
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