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 31, 2018

13626 - Cobrapost Sting: Softbank and Alibaba, Paytm's Foreign Investors, Mum Over Alleged Privacy Breach - Huffington Post

Even as investors rush to implement European Union privacy directives, Indian users left unprotected.

An advertisement of Paytm, a digital wallet company, is pictured at a road side stall in Kolkata, India, January 25, 2017. Picture taken January 25, 2017.

NEW DELHI — Paytm is under fire for allegedly sharing user data with Indian law enforcement agencies, but the popular e-wallet company's global investors — Softbank and Ant Financial, the Chinese internet giant behind Alibaba — are keeping mum.

The silence of two of the world's biggest technology investors, privacy experts say, point to how technology companies, promising to create a more democratic and transparent world, are actually completely unaccountable to their users.

Softbank, for instance, has a Privacy Policy for Personal Data for its European operations, but declined to comment on its obligations to Indian users.

"Right now, the user is not in control and the service provider is in complete control," said Apar Gupta, a Delhi High Court lawyer, specialising in privacy-related issues.

Last week, a sting operation by the Noida-based investigative news portal, Cobrapost, revealed a video in which a man, who is purportedly Ajay Shekhar, senior vice president of the company, appears to say that he personally received a phone call from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) after the protests in Kashmir, seeking data on Paytm users. Shekhar allegedly said that Paytm had a very close relationship with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the parent organization of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).


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If true, Paytm is in violation of its own privacy policy.
HuffPost India has been unable to verify these claims independently, and Paytm has denied sharing any data with the BJP-ruled government.

HuffPost wrote to Softbank and Alibaba — Paytm's biggest backers — and also to Uber, one of the most popular use-cases for Paytm. In India, Uber customers can use Paytm to pay for their rides, implying Paytm gathers a significant amount of Uber user data. Ant Financial and Alibaba collectively own close to 40% in One97 communications, Paytm's holding company, while Softbank, a Japanese internet and telecom conglomerate, owns about one-fifth of the $7 billion company.
HuffPost asked the following questions:
  • Are you aware of the sting investigation alleging that Paytm has shared user data with the Indian government in violation of its privacy policy?
  • Are you concerned about the allegation that Paytm has shared user data with the Indian government?
  • Have you reached out to Paytm regarding the allegations? What follow-up steps have you taken?
Only Softbank replied: "Softbank does not comment on portfolio companies."

HuffPost spoke with experts about the legal and ethical reasons that should drive investors to have a more proactive role in demanding accountability.

Right now, the user is not in control and the service provider is in complete control.

Legal reason
Legal experts say that sharing of private data with the government or with any third party would contravene the right to privacy, a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

"The Supreme Court judgment is law," said Usha Ramanathan, a Supreme Court advocate, referring to the 2017 judgment, Justice KS Puttaswamy (Retd.) & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors.

Ramanathan, who is challenging AADHAR as a breach of privacy, believes that there is no circumstance under which the government in India could demand private data from a service provider. For that to happen, Ramanathan explained, the government would first need to have a data protection law then stipulate any exceptions.

All that exists right now is a data protection policy.
In its statement, Paytm said, "Our policy allows ONLY legally compliant data requests from the law of the land to get access to data for necessary investigations."

Even in a scenario where the government demands private data, say, for instance, by a court order, Gautam Bhatia, a Supreme Court advocate, noted that the question of legality or illegality did not arise unless Paytm reveals what were the precise circumstances of the exchange.

"What were the safeguards that were taken?" he asked.
There are some who argue that it may not be incumbent on investors to respond to an alleged privacy breach because the Supreme Court judgment is not enough to establish illegality, and India does not yet have a data protection law.
But whether it is illegal or not, if the allegation against Paytm are true, it raises a huge ethical problem for investors.

Ethical problem
Ramanathan argues that foreign investments are about keeping companies on ethical lines. "You don't go to a country with less laws to violate the rights of people," she said.

Earlier this year, a sovereign wealth fund sold its stake in Vedanta Resources Plc, a mining and metals company, over "environmental and human rights violations" by the firm.
In 2010, the Church of England sold its shares of Vedanta Resources, citing its unhappiness at how the company treated the tribals of Orissa's Kalahandi district.

One of the foreign investors in Paytm, Alibaba, is already tainted in China. Earlier this year, its affiliate, Ant Financial, was forced to apologize after its users complained that they were misled into giving their consent for its Alipay service to share data with third parties.

You don't got to a country with less laws to violate the rights of people.
Why the double standard?
Uber has a mixed record when it comes to safeguarding private user data. On the one hand, the app-based cab service is known be fiercely protective about its data, for two reasons: competition and privacy. On the other hand, in 2016, it tried to conceal a hack that affected 57 million customers and drivers and payed $100,000 to the attackers to delete the data.
Last year, in the face of mounting pressure to share its data with local governments for the sake of urban planning, Uber launched "Movement," a tool that allows city planners and the public to access to anonymous data on Uber trips.
Privacy has been a concern for Uber, and, according to the terms and conditions of Movement, the data being shared is "anonymized and aggregated to ensure no personally identifiable information or user behavior can be surfaced through the Movement tool."
Uber, however, did not reply to HuffPost's question: "One of the big reason that Indian consumers have signed up for Paytm is to pay for Uber rides. Are you concerned that Uber consumer data has been compromised by Paytm?"
Way forward
In India, a committee headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee, under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, is looking to frame a data protection law.
Gupta, the lawyer specializing in privacy-related issues, has argued that India should consider the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which makes it incumbent on companies to - at the request of a user - disclose all the data it has on the person.
A user in EU can also ask a company to delete her data, send copies of the data or correct an error in data. The maximum fine for a GDPR violation is 20 million euros or four percent of a company's annual global revenue from the year before, whichever is higher.

"It builds a system of accountability," Gupta said, speaking of the need for a similar policy in India.