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, June 25, 2018

13729 - A domestic worker versus India’s Aadhaar system: Who will win this unequal battle? - Scroll.In


‘Karno’s Daughter’ explores the life of a maid in Kolkata, a trapeze act with no safety net beneath her.

Jun 22, 2018 · 05:30 pm

Because her voter card was at her village address, Buttermilk needed to travel there to enrol for her Aadhaar card. The entire family went together: Buttermilk, Jhoro, Bonomali, Rupa. Three out of the four needed to take the day off work. Their designated camp, in a Panchayat office, was catering to seven villages. They joined the snaking queue at 10 am. By midday, over 500 people were waiting in line, in brain-curdling heat. There was no shade. And no toilets. “We were all wilting,” Buttermilk said. “They were letting the old folks go ahead. But think of the women carrying little kids they couldn’t leave behind. Can you stand like that for long? They sat on the dirt path.” Hours went by as the line inched forward. No one knew how long this was going to take. Snack vendors had gathered and were having a field day. “Around 2 o’clock, we had to eat something. I went to a mooriwallah to get my throat cut. You won’t believe how much he was asking for two scoops: ten rupees! I told him to add extra green chillies. I figured the hot chillies would force us to drink more water, so we’d need less moori to feel full!” A striking life hack. “My husband and son were soon hissing and sweating like steam engines. I had to go find more water for them.’

The sun became old and lenient, then twilight faded to darkness. It was 8 p.m. by the time their turn came. The operator was to fill a form based on the information in the voter card and take biometric scans. Jhoro, Bonomali and Rupa got theirs done without a hitch. For Buttermilk, the fingerprint scanner baulked. “Not all my fingertips were showing up. So, shouldn’t you be patient? I had waited in line for ten hours! No, he was asking me to leave, because there were so many still waiting. I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke down in tears,” her voice cracked. “Seeing that he softened and said: Ma, what’s wrong? I said: the LPG account is in my name, and it’s mine that didn’t work?” She would be denied her LPG subsidy without an Aadhaar card. The operator, perhaps at the end of his tether, suggested that Buttermilk change the LPG account to her husband’s name—another crippling time sink. He then pushed her out with a final bit of advice: “We’ll hold another camp next month. Apply cream on your hands meanwhile to soften them.” Recounting this, Buttermilk looked at her hands and chuckled. The ridiculous had bubbled through the carapace of tragedy.

Buttermilk’s fingertips are callused from decades of swabbing floors and doing laundry.

This is true of an overwhelming majority of Indians because their hands are used in manual labour. The designers of the Aadhaar project had incorporated the iris scan for this reason, realising that a system based on fingerprints alone was unlikely to work. The system, as designed, allows the applicant to submit only her iris scan. Moreover, not all ten fingerprints need to successfully scan. The applicant is to be notified which fingers had failed so she doesn’t use them when being verified. But of course, Buttermilk knew none of this. Neither, it appeared, did the operator.
In the tearing rush to collect 1.3 billion biometric profiles – a task outsourced to private operators of questionable training – the quality of the data was a casualty. This would bring inordinate grief to the most vulnerable Indians: the rural poor who rely on government food subsidies, the children who rely on their school lunches, the students who rely on their government scholarships. Even with a valid Aadhaar card, many would be denied benefits because the verification scan of their fingertips failed to match those in the database. Often verification was impossible in rural areas simply because the scanner failed to talk to the central server due to lack of connectivity, or power. One could view this as teething troubles, as a good idea botched by hasty and sloppy implementation. But the horizon where the wrinkles were worked out seemed far. And the ensuing grief was pervasive and real.

Buttermilk felt the grief. But she didn’t take her failures personally. Her focus was on how to restore her LPG subsidy without missing too many days of work. She didn’t care whose fault it was, who broke the system or why. For her, it was quite simply about the money: about 2,000 rupees a year.
With more walking and sheer doggedness, she eventually did get her Aadhaar card. But that was not enough. She submitted a copy of it to her LPG supplier. She now needed to supply her bank – in the village – with her Aadhaar details so that her LPG subsidy would be directly deposited into her account. This was another one of those wait-in-line-all-day affairs. And when her turn came, she was told she didn’t have all the documents, she’d have to come back. At this point I had to ask her why she wasn’t angry. “Who should I be angry with?” she said with great calm. “My neighbours didn’t give me good information. I found out later that everyone else in line had all their documents. I didn’t have the time, so I’d told Rupa to ask around our neighbourhood and find out. And this is what she came back with. So, I yelled at her!” She yells at Rupa, but not at the state.
Buttermilk is never exercised about the Indian state. She seems to view it as some form of feral life, addled and unpredictable, which fortunately stays largely out of sight. Because when it does appear, it might attack. And who in their right mind gets angry at marauding wildlife? The notions of rights and justice are foggy, and not worth the time. The smart thing to do is to watch, prepare and get out of the way. Like you would for a mad tusker on the loose. The really smart thing, though, is to somehow marshal that tusker to rampage through the grove you wanted flattened anyway.

Excerpted with permission from Karno’s Daughter: The Lives of an Indian Maid, Rimli Sengupta, Context.


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