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

Friday, May 18, 2018

13535 - Rethink Aadhaar campaign update on the UID hearing in the Supreme Court

Rethink Aadhaar campaign update on the UID hearing in the Supreme Court

Mon, 14 May 2018 20:25:17 +0530

Rethink Aadhaar #No2UID

The Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench concluded its final hearings of the matters challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar project on Thursday, May 10, and reserved its judgment. Reservation of judgment is routine and means that the bench will take some time to give its final judgment. We expect the judgment sometime around July - August, after the Supreme Court’s summer recess. In the more than four-month long final hearings of the Aadhaar matters by the Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench, the petitioner’s lawyers covered the many criticisms of the Aadhaar project. Documents and submissions submitted in Court can be found here and present a repository of valuable, historic documents.

This past year, conversation around the Unique Identification (UID) or Aadhaar has grown significantly largely because the government coercively pushed Aadhaar into every aspect of residents’ lives. Partly in response, people began engaging with concerted social and mass media campaigns, live tweeting of court proceedings, and academic research and writing about the project.

In 2016, some of us came together to formulate a response to the Aadhaar onslaught and attempted to organise resources to challenge Aadhaar. We also worked to raise awareness and developed resources to help others understand - and critique - the project. We thought we would be focused on both “welfare and privacy” - two worlds that did not seem particularly connected until the UID project attacked our rights in both spheres. Some of us loosely began calling for “Rethink Aadhaar” (or “no2UID”). Since then we have supported public hearings, conducted signature campaigns, and had conversations on Aadhaar in public places including outside the UIDAI regional office in New Delhi, and at India Gate. During this time of campaigning, most significantly, the Supreme Court affirmed our fundamental right to privacy. In this time we also became a proxy grievance redressal centre for UIDAI with people calling us from across the country to help them with filing taxes, getting mobile phone connections, scholarships etc. without Aadhaar!

For many of us, the destruction of welfare accompanied by bogus claims of savings deserved criticism and called for a rethinking of the UID project. In Court and outside, the response of the State has been that welfare is a burden not a responsibility on the State, and the barter of our fundamental right to privacy is an inevitable part of the social contract. We have fought against this (mis)conception of welfare, and our own understanding of the idea of privacy and its intrinsic link to liberty and freedom has expanded and deepened.

The Aadhaar project has needed welfare schemes to spread itself, and welfare suffers because of it. Having made Aadhaar mandatory to access any government service or entitlement, the State has managed to get Aadhaar numbers seeded into every database creating a gold mine of data that can potentially enable 360º surveillance. We have been told, “Data is the new oil”. In the age of Cambridge Analytica and breaches in the famed Social Security Number (SSN) database in the US, it is clear that no database, whether maintained privately or by government, is truly secure. That a data protection regime is being created in India in a secretive, opaque manner with the active participation of Aadhaar officials only compounds matter further. 

Attempting to build a campaign - working on regular updates, collating information from an ever-larger number of sources, and reaching out to more people and wider audiences - with few resources and limited support has been difficult. We have had many ideas to which we have been simply unable to give time and physical energy. There have been mistakes and shortcomings along the way. 

Much of our campaigning has been galvanised by the ongoing court cases. In many ways the final hearing and waiting for the judgment in the Aadhaar matters is also an important juncture in this nascent campaign. We might wake up one morning and find that the judgment has come and in the dead of night the UID database was deleted with this government saying that it had itself asked for deletion of the database and it was all a Congress project anyway. Or, we might have to live with it, with the Supreme Court allowing the government to force citizens to trade their privacy and dignity for basic, Constitutionally-assured necessities such as food, education and livelihood. 

Whatever the verdict of the Supreme Court, this will not be the end of our legal battles and our struggles and campaigns outside court. 

For us we have learned, that we must never forget that the State loves power over its citizens, that there are many excuses given for the need and desire for power: care, good governance, genuine concern, efficiency, etc. Power can be exerted in many forms in the digital age - mass surveillance, phone tapping, database creation; the all-powerful Aadhaar project. In its attempts to justify its power, the State can and does forget its limitations and the inviolable rights of individuals and collectives. Rights are not given to us by the benevolence of a ruler, but they are fought for and are won by all of us working tirelessly together. We had won the fundamental right to privacy. Someday we will Destroy Aadhaar. 

If we do have to live with the UID project in some form, we want to think about the institutions and strategies through which we can continue to critique Aadhaar. We would also hope more people can join us and contribute time, or effort towards helping this campaign grow. 

One suggestion we are considering is to register ourselves as a formal trust through which we can fundraise and seek contributions. These funds could support campaigners to be involved full-time, or for interns and other supporters to join us on an as-needed basis. 

The last line of Justice Kaul’s opinion in the Right to Privacy judgment reads: “the old order changeth, yielding place to new.” Whatever, the outcome of the Aadhaar judgment - we live in a new order.

We will keep fighting.

Thank you for subscribing and supporting us.
Rethink Aadhaar Team


Rethink Aadhaar Campaign

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