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

Friday, June 22, 2018

13701 - Digital Native: Cause an effect - Indian Express


Aadhaar is a self-contained safe system, its interaction with other data and information systems is also equally safe and benign.


 Domino effect: A causal link makes data collected by Aadhaar prone to misuse (Source: Getty Images)

Written by Nishant Shah
Updated: June 17, 2018 12:05:07 am

Statistically, it has been proven, that the consumption of ice cream in the country increases significantly in the summer months. In the same months, the number of housebreak incidents also increase. It might be possible, though ridiculous, to now make an argument that eating ice cream leads to increased frequencies of housebreakings, and, hence, sale and consumption of ice cream should be regulated more rigorously. The humour in this situation arises out of the fact that we know, at a very human level, that correlation is not the same as causation.

We know that just because two things happen in temporal or spatial proximity with each other doesn’t necessarily mean they are connected or responsible in a chain of events. This is because human communication is designed to make a distinction between cause-and-effect relationship and happened-together relationship between two sets of information.

However, when it comes to computation, things turn slightly different. Within the database logics of computation, two sets of data, occurring in the same instance, are subjected to a simple scrutiny: Either one of them is linked with the other, or, one of the two is noise, and, hence, needs to be removed from the system. Computation systems are foundationally anchored on logic. Within logical systems, all the events and elements described in the system are interlinked and have a causal relationship with each other. Computational learning systems, thus, do not have the capacity to make a distinction between causal and correlative phenomena.

This is why computation systems of data mining and profiling are so much more efficient than human cognition. Not only are these systems able to compute a huge range of data, but they are also able to make unprecedented, unforeseen, unexpected, and often unimagined connections between seemingly disparate and separate information streams. 

I present to you this simplified notion of computer logic because it is at the heart of the biometric identity-based debates around Aadhaar right now. 

Recently, Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO, UIDAI, wrote an opinion piece that insisted that the data collective mechanisms of Aadhaar are not only safe but also benign. His opinion is backed by Bill Gates, who also famously suggested that “Aadhaar in itself” is not dangerous.

And, in many ways, Gates is right, even if Pandey’s willful mischaracterisation of Gates’s statement is not. For Gates, a computer scientist looking at the closed architecture of the Aadhaar system, it might appear, that in as much as any digital system could be safe, Aadhaar is indeed safe. In essence, Gates’s description was, that as a logical system of computational architecture, Aadhaar is safe, and the data within it, in their correlation with each other, does not form any sinister networks that we need to worry about.

However, Pandey takes this “safe in itself” argument to extend it to the applications and implementations of Aadhaar. 

He argues that because Aadhaar is a self-contained safe system, its interaction with other data and information systems is also equally safe and benign. In this, Pandey, either out of ignorance or willful mischaracterisation, confuses correlation with causality. He refuses to admit that Aadhaar and the biometrics within that are the central focal point around which a variety of data transactions happen which produce causal links between disconnected subjects.

Thus, the presence of a digital biometric data set might not in itself be a problem, but when it became the central verification system that connects your cellphone with your geolocation data, your presence and movement with your bank account and your income tax returns, your food and lifestyle consumption with your medical records, it starts a causal link between information which was hitherto unconnected, and, hence, considered trivial.

The alarm that the critics of Aadhaar have been raising is not about whether the data on Aadhaar is safe or not, but, how, in the hands of unregulated authorities, the correlations that Aadhaar generates and translates into causal profiles have dire consequences on the privacy and liberty of the individuals who carry the trace of Aadhaar in all facets of life. Pandey and his team of governors need to explain not the safety of Aadhaar but what happens when the verification information of Aadhaar is exploited to create non-human correlations of human lives, informing policy, penalisation and pathologisation through these processes.

Nishant Shah is a professor of new media and the co-founder of The Centre for Internet & Society, Bangalore.