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
2) Issue fiats and point finger
3) Shoot messenger
4) Bury head in sand.
God Save India
Sunday, August 30, 2020
Daily update ⋅ 30 August 2020
The Curious Case of PAN–Aadhaar Linkage
Economic and Political Weekly
The Government of India's justification for removing any distinction between a permanent account number allotted based on the Aadhaar and one ...
Guj HC asks UIDAI to verify aadhaar details of 'abducted' girl
Man claims his niece was abducted; she counters it; both submit her aadhaar card as age proof; court tells UIDAI to verify the cards to know her real ...
PMAYG deadline rush triggers infection fears at Aadhaar centres in Assam
Times of India
However, all Aadhaar centres are not working now because of the persistent threat of Covid-19 and frequent lockdowns and this has led to chaos in ...
Social security schemes: DDC Udhampur reviews Aadhaar seeding of beneficiaries
The DDC emphasized on universal coverage under Aadhar generation and adhaar seeding in the district. He said linkage of the bank accounts of all the ...
God save us from our technocrats!
The Times of India Blog
Biocon's Kiran Mazumdar Shaw has mooted a digital QR code based vaccination plan linked to Aadhaar “that can be world beating”, ostensibly to tag ...
In big haul, DRI recovers gold bars worth Rs 43 crore in Delhi; 8 held
Officers said they had concealed the gold bars in specially tailored cloth vests and were using fake identity cards (Aadhaar cards) to travel to Delhi.
Food and Public Distribution Secretary chairs key meeting on schemes for PDS reforms
All India Radio
... Card Plan, Aadhaar generation and seeding and development of mobile application aimed to help migrant National Food Security Act beneficiaries.
Digital Health Mission: Over 55000 IDs created
The New Indian Express
... IDs can be created by providing basic information that includes full name, year of birth, gender and either a mobile number or an Aadhaar number.
Food ministry considering extending implementation of ration card portability beyond Mar 2021
... the committee also reviewed the progress of fair price shop automation, Aadhaar generation/seeding and development of mobile application aimed ...
Delhi HC satisfied with government distribution of free food, throws out contempt petition
The eligibility was possession of Aadhaar cards, Voter ID cards, etc. The food grains were distributed from the nearest available Fair Price Shops, the ...
The future of health
The Indian Express
The use of Aadhaar, therefore, is not mandatory. Second, providing access to and sharing of personal health records is a prerogative of the HealthID ...
SC/ST people can apply for loan online
Times of India
“The loan amount will be transferred by the Corporation to the Jan Aadhaar-linked bank account of the applicant after administrative approval on the ...
Trains to resume plying in Danapur Div. of ECR
United News of India
Divisional Rail Manager ( DRM) Sunil Kumar and senior divisional commercial manager AAdhar Raj told new persons through video conferencing ...
Fintech Market In India 2020-2025
... like demonetization, Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and Unified Payment Interface (UPI) have further contributed to the growth of the industry.
Saturday, August 29, 2020
Daily update ⋅ 29 August 2020
Updating multiple fields in Aadhaar card: All you need to know
Times of India
It is also mandatory while filing Income Tax returns (ITRs). Hence, it is advisable to keep all fields of your Aadhaar card updated. Details on the Aadhaar ...
Bhopal police arrests 7 in fake Aadhaar card,voter ID scam
Bhopal cyber police has arrested seven persons, including a minor, who used to create fake Aadhaar cards and voter identity cards through a banned ...
Odisha withdraws order that made Aadhaar mandatory for pensions
The Odisha government had earlier decided to make Aadhaar verification mandatory for all people who were availing monthly social security pension ...
Andhra police bust fake Aadhaar racket, arrest eight
The police in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district on Thursday busted an Aadhaar manipulation racket and arrested eight persons, including two ...
Odisha pensioners without Aadhaar will get entitlements
The New Indian Express
Earlier, the State Government had made Aadhaar seeding mandatory for pensioners under both the schemes depriving around 20 per cent of the 49 ...
Open Digital Ecosystems can unlock opportunities worth $700 bn for India: Report
Examples of NODEs in India include Aadhaar (or the India Stack project), Unified Payments Interface and Nandan Nilekani's recently launched Open ...
PF money can be withdrawn without UAN, know the way
Download the Aadhaar based composite claim form or Non-Aadhaar based composite claim form from the EPFO website and submit it to the ...
Indians get just one week to review crucial health data policy. The Centre's rush is undemocratic
Potentially linked to Aadhaar, the 12-digit unique identification number linked to a person's biometric details, the ID will be key to accessing a digital ...
BQ Explains: How The National Health ID Will Work
Like in the case with the early years of Aadhaar, there is no legislation in the works to underpin this national health ID project. As for a data privacy law, it ...
EC misses a golden chance to introduce Internet-based voting
Yahoo India News
An option of Aadhaar card verified (through an OTP) and enabled e-voting, would have been an apt decision. Despite the Election Commission's efforts ...
Amritsar's Shanker Photostat growing with Xerox
Shanker Photostat's services range from Aadhaar Card printing; marketing collateral printing such as business cards, brochures, posters, stickers, ...
CRPF detains suspicious person near Parliament
The police have recovered two ID cards - one Aadhaar and a driving licence, both with different names on them from him.
Online SBI: How to open digital savings account with State Bank of India
The applicant must have a valid Aadhaar number and valid Permanent Account Number. Source - PTI. Written By: ZeeBiz WebTeam. Updated: Fri, Aug ...
Driving Automation And Efficiency In Loan Processing Using Text Analytics
... Bank Statements, Passport, Voter ID, Aadhar, CIBIL score report etc. and extract information relevant to credit worthiness assessment in real-time.
Transgender community in Uttarakhand bats for land inheritance rights
The New Indian Express
Out of this, only 143 have been issued Aadhaar Cards. Recently, the Uttarakhand state government decided to give land rights to women who work in ...
Julia is Python + C, says creator Viral Shah
Shah, who grew up in Mumbai and was among those who helped architect Aadhaar, created Julia about 10 years ago together with three other ...
Digital India Mission on a new high
400 million bank accounts of the poor, linked with Aadhar, have helped to confirm their digital identity, reinforced by the mobile. "We started sending ...
DDC for special focus on 100 pc coverage under social security schemes
Regarding Adhaar linkage, the DDC directed the department to take up the matter with the lead bank manager on priority for 100% adhaar linkage of ...
Kathua DDC reviews progress on PMGSY road projects
India Education Diary
The DDC directed the concerned departments to achieve 100% Aadhaar seeding in the district. He stressed upon the departments to ensure effective ...
Friday, August 28, 2020
ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
Vol. 55, Issue No. 34, 22 Aug, 2020
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Vickram Crishna (email@example.com) is an engineer and a petitioner in the Supreme Court against Aadhaar, the identification project under the aegis of the Unique Identification Authority of India.
The Aadhaar Effect: Why the World’s Largest Identity Project Matters by N S Ramnath and Charles Assisi, Oxford University Press, 2018; pp 328, ₹350.
Dissent on Aadhaar: Big Data Meets Big Brother edited by Reetika Khera, Orient Blackswan, 2019; pp 288, ₹406.
We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of Our Digital Selves by John Cheney-Lippold, NYU Press, 2018; pp 268, $14.19.
In 2009, without any public discussion, the Government of India issued an executive order setting up the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), creating it as an office under the Planning Commission. The first chairperson, Nandan Nilekani, until then chairperson of a private company, Infosys Ltd, was conferred the rank of a cabinet minister.
Given this status, he was able to quickly launch what was publicised as a portable identification system, claimed to provide India’s first national digital identity for persons who were said to lack access to any documentation at all. This would, it was said, provide anytime access to guaranteed welfare benefits under a range of such schemes. Without this, it was said, the functioning of such schemes led to widespread “leakages,” ensuring that vast amounts of moneys paid out by the state were not reaching the intended beneficiaries at all, and this would put an end to such problems.
In 2018, after a lengthy series of struggles in various courtrooms across the nation, the Supreme Court issued an omnibus order on a large number of individual public interest litigations, and against a series of appeals against repeated contempt of court by the government at various levels (both state and centre). The original executive order was, after seven years, replaced with legislation, but in the form of a money bill. This attracted further litigation against the manner of its passage into law, apart from numerous contentious issues with its framing.
Following the judgment, two books have been published directly covering the scheme and its impacts. The first is The Aadhaar Effect and the second, Dissent on Aadhaar. A third book, We Are Data, examines the regime of personal data created in digital form by such schemes, in tandem with other generators, many of which are commercial exploitations of online social services, offered free for use in return for almost unrestricted data access.
Usage of Data
This review article places the project and its impacts within the ambit of massive data collection and how it is being, can be, and, ominously enough, will probably be used, by coalescing these three studies.
“We believe this is a project in perpetual beta,” concludes The Aadhaar Effect. To underline it, the cover title is casually misspelled “The Aadaar Effect,” on the book spine. For many, this kind of shallow carelessness typifies a project that was conceived in haste, implemented post-haste, and will be forever in catch-up mode.
To the authors, however, the rapidity with which the use of the number was enforced across the country, coercing over a billion people to sign up for a new documented identity, in spite of the fact that over 99.97% were found to already possess at least one, is laudable.
Ten years down the line, the default use of the number remains, largely, presentation of “the card,” a printed acknowledgment of enrolment issued as is by UIDAI. The mockery this makes, of a transformational shift towards nationwide digitisation of functional systems, does not seem to faze its promoters.
Portability also remains a question mark, as is exhaustively documented in Dissent on Aadhaar. When systems demand authentication, as has been tried in both pilot and policy in some areas, notably in Jharkhand, it resulted in starvation deaths amongst those denied issue of welfare, as the direct outcome of inability to comply (Tewary 2018).
Reasons for non-compliance range from the failure to register biometrics, to failure of the system itself (lack of connectivity, lack of electricity, etc). Overwhelmingly, the “card,” produced as a “proof” of identity, serves to clear more trivial barriers, such as airport entry, where identification documents are incessantly demanded. Efforts have been made in recent months to “enhance” the value proposition of the card by printing it with a QR code that authenticates it, when scanned with the camera of a mobile phone, if the phone is equipped with the appropriate software.
However, that postdates the existing usage of the “card,” to the extent that, in submissions before the Supreme Court over the years, the government pleader continually referred to it as a card. Finally, in detailing the judgment through a judicial order, the Court itself, in its majority opinion, terms it a card. Note, the judgment itself is not a subject of either of the books, both of which were substantially written before the judgment was issued (Dissent on Aadhaar adds a few pages mentioning the judgment, but the main essays were written and edited earlier). This report, therefore, will avoid discussing the aftermath of the judgment, which was delivered in September 2018.
The third book, We Are Data, explicates why any judicial ruling that permits the identification scheme to continue makes the discussion of partial impacts irrelevant, in any case. While it is not particularly India-centric, it provides a huge insight to understanding the overt impacts of data discovery, which is inbuilt to the manner in which UIDAI has promoted the use of the UID (Unique Identity Number). This goes well beyond the layer made visible to most people, an identity card that opens various artificial barriers.
For most people, this aspect, some document that is recognised by others as a form of identification, is the most relevant and important. It is also the basis on which the project was initiated.
Unfortunately, it turns out it may not be the most critical reason for actually promoting this project. Across the world, multiple commercial services have been created that trade on the free access to data, in return for free furnishing of some service perceived as being useful. The penetration of these services in any geographically distinct population, however, hinges on the availability of other services, central to the policies by which those populations are governed. Without the services, people do not generate enough digital data.
The most important is connectivity, but connectivity is irrelevant without the availability of electricity. India, nearly two decades into the 21st century, lacks pervasive (“seamless,” a term that implies 24×7 availability in all directions a person can move) facilities for both factors. This means that digital personal data is not driven bottom-up in this geography. The UIDAI project, therefore, is necessary to paper over this gap.
As it turns out, it is not justified on grounds of non-availability of an identification document in any form, for a majority of people in India. Submissions to the Supreme Court by the government over the years acknowledged that a vanishingly small percentage (0.03%) of people actually turned up at UIDAI enrolment centres to register, without at least one such document in hand. Yet, in 2018, The Aadhaar Effect blithely attributes (p 2) the lack of such documents as the overwhelming justification for spending public funds on the project.
The book continually bypasses such inconvenient realities (the “document gap” is only one of many). Despite this oversight, which appears to be deliberate, the book still has some interest, principal being the perhaps unconscious description of how a private-sector driven project, whose private sector gains are obvious (and laid out in painstaking detail in We Are Data), was packaged as a public sector scheme. Even more interestingly, it also describes how the tensions between private and public sector interests have eventually found the project apparently running in the public sector, while its gainful spin-offs are completely positioned within the private sector.
This factor has been commented on elsewhere, describing how centralised systems are routinely compromised by bureaucracies across the world. This has resulted in the generation of documented “successes” that are figments of imagination at best, flights of fancy sometimes, that lead to exceedingly dire consequences—large number of deaths, for instance, and destruction of an entire national economy—when used for planning and policy decisions in large countries.1
As related in The Aadhaar Effect, one of the objectives of creating a digitised identification system was to bypass the generation of such invented record-keeping. However, there was little or nothing in the design of the implementation that actually dealt with this issue. This is minutely covered in “Dissent on Aadhaar,” from essays dealing with the effects of systems linked mandatorily to the number, demanding instant authentication of the individual in order to authorise the issue of welfare (such as foodgrains), to a description of how a much-ballyhooed digitisation of land records ultimately resulted in a service that, far from improving the system it replaced,2 demanded and was dependent upon a host of new logistic hurdles.
In the case of welfare deliveries, no provision was made for tracking the actual amount of foodgrains delivered to the beneficiary, long reported (by the promoters) as one of the principal sources of malfeasance in the system. Instead, the onus has shifted on to the beneficiary, who is mostly illiterate, has poor quality biometrics, is unfamiliar with computers, and does not even know or understand that this shift in balance has taken place. In the meantime, while this exercise was being carried out, several states actually implemented alternative methods of welfare delivery tracking, focusing on earlier stages of distribution, resulting in close to total elimination of losses. Naturally, where such improvements have taken place, there is no significant purpose to digitising end-user identifications.
More importantly, it is clear from rosy-hued descriptions of the development of the project, that welfare efficiencies are not the core purpose of the project. They do, however, provide a seemingly credible reason for the government to fund, and more importantly, insist upon the usage of such a system. To this end, both governmental and extra-governmental authorities (notably, the World Bank) have deliberately and fraudulently misrepresented welfare spends as savings,3 leading to the impression that the project is working, despite its obvious failings (Wire 2017).
This creates a different set of problems with the manner in which the project has been implemented, which is not the subject of either of the two books mentioned above, though. To understand this problem area, it is necessary to have read the very first book brought out on the project, prior to the completion of the hearings. This is The Sham ID, Called Aadhaar: Hoax of the Century by (retired colonel) Mathew Thomas (2018).
Tireless investigations of the contracts signed by UIDAI, with a range of consulting firms and data processors, led to the discovery that not only was permission given to make copies of the data collected, but that the main contractors had serious links to foreign intelligence agencies, principal among them the United States (US)-based National Security Agency (NSA). The NSA has a mandate from the US government to surveil all electronic communications worldwide, with the exception of that of US citizens (Makkar 2017).
It is, however, not technically possible to definitively exclude the communications of US citizens from that of foreigners, when exhaustively funnelling in everything. The discovery that this was an ongoing illegality, following large-scale publication of communications declared secret by the NSA (by the actions of one of its former contractors, Edward Snowden), resulted in US courts ordering the immediate cessation of all activities that might result in US citizens being surveilled.
When questioned, the UIDAI, however, declared that it was unaware that the contractors were not Indian companies. This thin excuse is based on the fact that all bidding contractors were required to set up offices in India, prior to bidding. The contracts permit the data processing businesses to maintain copies of all data, and do not mandate supervision of such duplicate databases. For a long time, the UIDAI attempted to block release of such information, on the specious claim that the contracts also included clauses that might be confidential in terms of competitive business. However, the requests had not asked for release of such clauses in the first place, and the revelation of commercial secrets could have been justifiably redacted.
It appears likely that, for reasons that have not yet been forensically established, nor judicially enquired into, even by the Supreme Court, before which petitions were filed and included in the set adjudicated together in 2018, the entire database of Indian residents who enrolled has been shared with foreign interests.4
As it turns out, not all residents may be of interest to foreign intelligence agencies as such. But, on reading We Are Data, it becomes obvious that, in order to adequately identify persons of interest, it is necessary to have a much larger database, the universal set, from which relevant persons can be identified for flagging as worthy of tracking. That is the unsettling side of mass surveillance in the digital age, while an allegedly more benign purpose, identification of persons who might be commercially valuable, justifies the effort.
For most persons who are digitally active, it is a welcome innovation, begun in the very last year of the previous century, that free services of perceived usefulness are available. But, in return, wide access to personal data drives much of new wave global surveillance, the surveillance that is not directly the work of mandated “secret service” organs of various governments of nation states. Rather, it is the work of commercial organisations that have, in under two decades, become the largest purveyors of advertising in the world. Just two of these, Google and Facebook, have revenues and reach that put them head and shoulders above all known advertising businesses that dominated the 20th century.
Even advertising, although it may benefit commercially from access to targeting of a nature that puts the famous words of Lord Leverhulme in the shade (“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”), is not the problem; at least, it is not the whole problem (Ogilvy 1963).5 There is a strong possibility, discussed exhaustively in John Cheney-Lippold, that persuaders within advertising-driven services, such as social media and searches (the characteristics of the primary businesses of Facebook and Google, respectively), actually drive consumer behaviour.
This is achieved by restricting choices perceived as being universally available (to the extent that they can be accessed via the World Wide Web). Such restrictions are enormous enough to actually mould and shape public opinion itself, in a remarkably grainy sense. Grainy, in this context, refers to the degree to which influenced audiences might be narrowed, and the purpose of this whittling down is to arrive at the absolute individual level.
Now, it turns out that this individual does not actually need to be the person that is “I.” It is, instead, the person that is the sum of data points that approximate, asymptotically, but in remarkable degree, to “I.” The purpose of digital identification then, is not so much the identification demanded by the nation state, the historical origin of identification, as distinct from the social origin of identity, but the shaping of a consumer of commercially viable goods and services. The approximation is asymptotic, only because we presently lack the technology to perfectly map every moment of every day of life in every detailed biological sense. The data-gathering points, however, are increasing rapidly. Even so, “we” are data, but data is not “we.”
The size of these sets is huge, by any standard excepting that of the genomically digitised real being. They enable daily manipulation of the data accessed by any person. In turn, this shapes the data “I,” to the extent that the person “I” is blissfully unconscious of such manipulation. In modern research terminology, the “individual” person has been effectively replaced by the “dividual” set of data, one that emulates the person. It is this dividual that is useful to any corporate entity—government or private—that is both accessing the data from (and thereby, defining) the dividual, and is interested (motivated) to manipulating the data that will be accessed in future (meaning, the future that begins immediately after now) by the individual.
And, from the simple social media and search engines that kicked off this acceleration in both data-gathering and targeted data deliveries, the attractors have become much more persuasive. Health and quality of life, for instance, as promised by health tracking devices that offer familiar entry point services, such as wearable timekeeping. For example, this article6 extols the ability of Apple Watch, a timekeeping wristwatch device made by the information technology consumer products and services giant, to prevent cardiac incidents, by issuing timely warnings to users. The device encourages users to share online biological indicators emanating from one’s own body. Ownership of the data is far from assured: indeed, it is “necessary” to share it, on the grounds that accumulated user data will help make future health predictors even more accurate.7
Such devices, relatively expensive, may seem hardly relevant to countries like India, where potential users may be in low percentages. But this is an obvious fallacy: consider that estimates of India’s middle class, perhaps 50% of all smartphone users in the country, exceed the entire populations of well over 90% of all other nations severally.8 Targeting this scattered audience might have been a Herculean task in the mid-20th century, but, thanks to projects like this one of the UIDAI, which has linked the number to the phone numbers and banking accounts of a majority of the “worthy” residents, it is trivial. Furthermore, the practice of using wearables is itself a social phenomenon, one that is highly susceptible to influencers that are already obviously making use of the kind of data gathering—sousveillance—taking place constantly. With constant ongoing innovation in wearables, it is not inconceivable that some low-cost variant may soon find popularity (that is, millions of users) in India.
For present-day Indians, wearables and such instantaneous data-gathering devices of “deep” data may not, of course, be as relevant as the ability to manipulate open access to information, in a manner that leaves the individual unaware that the dividual is being constrained. For a nascent democracy like ours, plagued by poverty, illiteracy and lack of accessible media, the ability to manipulate those bereft of easy sources of information has long been demonstrated, as the repeated election of charismatic politicians shows. It is the ability to influence those who believe they are better informed that might lead to results that confound.
The public dissemination of data collected by UIDAI has been repeatedly established, very often by websites maintained by the government itself, at both the central and at state levels. This has usually been due to incompetence or poor technical design of web pages hosted by the government, but, very recently, criminal charges have been filed against a private company that evidently had access to the data of nearly 8 crore residents, collected (the case is under investigation, but an officer of the UIDAI has publicly commented that the data formatting appears remarkably similar to that of the UIDAI database maintained by Central Identities Data Repository (Times of India 2010).9 The case complainant is, in fact, UIDAI itself, because one of the provisions of the law governing the authority reserves the right to file charges solely to itself.
Far from residents being protected, as envisaged under the Constitution, the only extant law in place currently places the onus for investigation and filing charges on the government itself, and within the government, solely upon UIDAI, for offences that involve data collected by the UIDAI. As has been made clear from records released by UIDAI itself, a significant number of cases filed charged journalists and publishers who revealed that such data thefts were taking place, while the total number of cases filed number far less than one hundred. However, a massive number of agencies contracted to UIDAI for data gathering have been dismissed for activities that include data fraud.10
No explanation for the lack of charges against such data fraudsters has been furnished till date.
In conclusion, a very large exercise has been publicly documented, through several books and voluminous literature, and its purpose seems to be somewhat different from what was publicly announced, and for which public funds were allocated. A country where personal data was both difficult and expensive to collect and collate has been rapidly converted, to the point where high quality data gathering has become alarmingly simplified.
Other nations had years and decades to come to terms with such massive data-gathering exercises, and built up, in fits and starts, some amount of political resistance and lawmaking11 to attempt to contain it. For India, it has taken less than a decade, and there is little evidence of legal systems matching up to the challenge. Individuals need not be lured here, to turn over their data in return for superficially attractive commercial services, such as free email and ease of social communication, involving the sharing and exchange of rich media in small communities. The exercise here has been enforced and coerced, through direct and threatened denial of essential services, upon both needy (woefully poverty-stricken) and comparatively well-off sections of the population, by direct governmental intervention. In doing so, 1.3 billion people have been dragged into a net that only a few, mostly technologically aware but politically immature, can see, much less acknowledge. The net is ostensibly digital, but it has the potential to be not unlike stainless steel razor wire, when abused by interests inimical to a free democratic republic.
\1 Harari, Yuval Noah, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, HarperCollins, pp 402. In Part II: The Storytellers, from footnote 3 on page 166: citations from Jean C. Oi, State and Peasant in Contemporary China: The Political Economy of Village Government, and others, describe the generation of almost fictional records of agricultural output in China and Tanzania, two nations in which centralised reporting systems had been rigidly created by the 1960s. The farm outputs thus documented formed the basis for national policy that, in the case of China, led to a massive famine that reportedly killed tens of millions, as real grains were exported wholesale, leaving little for local consumption, and in Tanzania to the destruction of a viable and thriving local agricultural ecosystem, the mainstay of the economy.
2 The author of the impugned essay, Inside the Plumbing of Technology Projects, Jonnalagada K, provides an insight that technology projects in public service domains basically reroute responsibilities, from the local authority (the ration officer, for instance, in a district) to a technology designer. However, this person has no actual accountability for endpoint service deliveries. Worse, such public service projects rarely build in a self-correcting mechanism for public comment and correction, either during the design stage or following the rollout of the programme.
3 The Wire, an online publication, reported on 3 October 2017 that the World Bank had misrepresented Indian government welfare spending as savings accrued from the UID project. This was done by misquoting an actual study carried out where the welfare spending figure was estimated. This was then presented as savings, even as the study pointed to potential savings that might accrue if a number of other factors were actualised (but were not actually in place). Following the exposé, and after a series of sharp letters were sent to the institution, the report was reluctantly “corrected.” However, until a year later, senior World Bank representatives continued to attribute Indian government spending estimates as savings, primarily to provide support for its own global programme, branded ID4D (identity for development). The motivation for such misrepresentation is very sharp: given the need to miscontrue identification systems, which are basically expensive technological interventions, as substitutes for identity, a social construct.
4 As reported by Ogilvy (1963). However, the attribution has been questioned, and may be apocryphal. Even so, it refers to an age well before digital communications became commonplace, in fact, even before the first telephone conversation took place.
5 Hall (2017). There is a movement towards “wearables,” computing devices that are normally attached to the body by various means, either on a strap or as clothing, even to the extent of being actually surgically embedded. This is different, although doubtless may be considered related, to the surgical implantation of prostheses and medicated devices, since such devices are empowered with either direct or networked computing power of their own, and could be further enhanced to allow some independent decision-making, based on the data gathered and analysed.
6 However, protection of that data from casual access is not so simple. In some countries, it may be necessary, given strong local laws. In India, where protection of such data is regarded by the Constitution as a fundamental right, there is in fact no effective civil or criminal code, or even jurisprudent precedent, for penalising individual or corporate entities who deliberately or accidentally disseminate such data, unless such dissemination also includes activities that might constitute other forms of crime, such as theft, for which routine statutes are in place. The fundamental right to privacy has no matching laws to penalise its breach. However, the wanton creation of rules and laws to breach privacy is possible to contain, by approaching high courts and the Supreme Court, post facto, in case the safeguards built into legislative practice prove insufficient. This has been the case following the executive order of 2019 that created the UIDAI, and the subsequent passage of the money bill that was converted into a law by signature of the President, in 2016. Parts of that law were struck down in 2018 on grounds of unconstitutionality, and review petitions that question the remaining law are pending, as of this writing.
7 WP(C) 9143 of 2014 before the Delhi High Court). Unlike the large set of cases “clubbed” together before the Supreme Court that were eventually adjudicated in 2018, this case has remained unheard, before a staggering number of successive justices who either retired or were removed from the case. This is a matter of record.
8 There are many estimates circulating, both for the fuzzily defined “middle class,” and the actual number of smartphone users, in India, and have been for decades. The reasons for this are not hard to comprehend: neither is India’s “middle class” equivalent to that of the middle class of countries that industrialised 50 to a 100 years earlier, nor do patterns of ownership and usage of phones in India match those found in other countries. Phone usage, for instance, varies widely from a single phone used by many members of a family, to two or more phones used by a single person. In both cases, users might belong to the economically defined “middle class,” but for whom disposable income may not actually be available for opportunistic spending, in the same manner as might be found routinely for individuals in say, Europe or the United States. Phone usage patterns, both for the ostensibly simpler “featurephone,” and for the more adaptive smartphone, are likely to be culture-specific, and India is in itself a grouping of highly individualised cultures.
9 The text of the letter addressed to the concerned police station, which is in the public domain, makes it clear that the data has been hosted with Amazon Web Services, outside India. It speculates that the data was acquired by the accused company illegally, from either UIDAI itself, or from the various state resident hubs. This acknowledges, incidentally, that data gathered by UIDAI and claimed (in the proceedings before the Supreme Court) to be hosted under conditions of great security at Central Identities Data Repository was shared with multiple agencies outside of the control of the Central Government, apparently with poor safeguards and little concern for potential misuse.
11 Speech of Ravi Shankar Prasad in Parliament on 10 April 2017 stating that 34,000 agencies have been blacklisted.
Hall, Zac (2017): “How Apple Watch Saved One Man’s Life—And How It’s Empowering Him after His Heart Attack,” 9to5Mac, 15 December, viewed on 13 April 2019,
Makkar, Sahil (2017): “Did UIDAI Share Biometric Data with Its Foreign Vendors?” Business Standard, 30 August.
Ogilvy, David (1963): Confessions of an Advertising Man.
Wire (2017): “The Curious Case of the World Bank and Aadhaar Savings,” 3 October, https://thewire.in/economy/the-curious-case-of-the-world-bank-and-aadhaar-savings.
Daily update ⋅ 27 August 2020
Aadhaar model can help in vaccinating population quickly: Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani
India must replicate the Aadhaar model — built to enroll over a million people a day — to create a massive vaccination programme that can cover 3-5 ...
Gandhi Parivar is Cong's Aadhaar card, says Sanjay Raut
The Indian Express
“Gandhi Parivar is the Aadhaar card of the Congress. Be it Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi. The demand for a non-Gandhi leading ...
Aadhaar-enabled gate to check Covid in Kerala
Times of India
“This gate makes use of the QR code in the Aadhaar card and thus makes sure if a person is supposed to be on quarantine or at high risk. A temperature ...
Facial recognition, Iris scans may be used for welfare scheme payouts
as physical touch by resident is not required to perform Aadhaar authentication,” it said. “Authentication success rate is also potentially higher than ( ...
From Aadhaar to Aarogya Setu, Vidhi's questionable role in technology-related policy making
Vidhi has also consulted the central government on Aadhaar and the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, among several other pieces of legislation.
Aadhaar Ventures India reports standalone nil net profit/loss in the June 2020 quarter
Aadhaar Ventures India reported no net profit/loss in the quarter ended June 2020 as against net loss of Rs 0.05 crore during the previous quarter ...
Will COVID-19 Clearance Certificate Turn Into Another Aadhaar?
New Delhi: Like Aadhaar, is a COVID-10 clearance certificate proving to be another tool to harass and exclude the poor and deprive them of benefits?
Mango Municipal Corporation camp for footpath vendors' Adhaar Card link
Adhaar links of 533 such vendors were taken up at the camp today. Simultaneously, a biometric camp was also set up to help footpath vendors to put ...
Suspicious Kashmiri man nabbed by CRPF near Parliament building; two IDs recovered
Two identity cards – one Aadhar card and a driving license - have been also ... the name mentioned in the Aadhaar Card is Manzoor Ahmed Ahanger.
'Lokka's associate Ladiya stayed in Madurai'
The New Indian Express
... from Erode, and Lokka's girlfriend Amani Dhanji were arrested on August 2 for forging documents, including Aadhaar, for Angoda Lokka.
Thiruvananthapuram Padmanabhaswamy Temple Opens Its Doors To Devotees Today For The ...
Those who seek to have a glimpse of the deity will have to book online and carry a copy of the Darshan token and their original Aadhaar card.
EPF Amount Withdrawal Using UMANG App: Steps Revealed
... for EPF withdrawal make sure that you have verified your KYC details, linked UAN to Aadhaar and also linked the UMANG app with your Aadhaar.
My income tax return status shows 'invalid returns'. Should I file fresh ITR?
... verify your ITR for the Assessment year 2016-2017 by any of the following five ways prescribed under the income tax laws. 1) Through Aadhaar OTP.
Govt may merge half a dozen welfare schemes with social security code
Instead, have a single scheme for all informal sector workers, and link them to the Aadhaar number and Jan Dhan bank account." “While the formal ...
Uttar Pradesh: 17-year-old girl raped, murdered in Lakhimpur Kheri; no arrests so far
... 22 hours after an 18-year-old left home — in eastern UP's Lakhimpur Kheri district — with Class IX marksheet, Aadhaar card and less than Rs 200 to ...
Portal to keep close watch on fertilizers' wholesalers, retailers
Times of India
The department has also decided to distribute fertilizers among farmers only on the basis of their Aadhaar card. In case distribution is made on the ...
COVID-19: Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple to open from tomorrow
Devotees have to do online registration one day prior to darshan and to keep a copy of registration form and original Aadhaar card at the time of ...
Raped, her throat slit, teen's body found in east UP village
The Indian Express
Nearly 22 hours after an 18-year-old left home — in eastern UP's Lakhimpur Kheri district — with Class IX marksheet, Aadhaar card and less than Rs ...
Suspicious person detained near Parliament
The police have recovered two ID cards - one Aadhaar and a driving licence, both with different names on them from him. The Delhi Police is carrying ...
Upstox looks to double account holders by Dec; plans to launch global investing platform soon
Ever since Aadhar came into play and internet connection really ballooned, our business started booming. In the last two years, since June 2018, we ...
Digital India Mission on a new high
400 million bank accounts of the poor, linked with Aadhar, have helped to confirm their digital identity, reinforced by the mobile. ``We started sending ...
India's COVID-19 recovery rate crosses 76%; exceeds active cases by 3.5 times
Also read: COVID-19: Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani pitches Aadhaar model to vaccinate Indians faster. There are 17,60,489 more recovered ...
Punjab Police bust narco-terror racket with KLF links
Rajinder Singh made Aadhaar card and passport with the help of fake documents from Uttar Pradesh and was trying to escape from India in the near ...
DC urges banks to perform better
The Arunachal Times
Earlier, Doley spoke about the CD ratio status, KCC loan, Aadhaar seeding, etc. The district consultative committee and the district level review ...
Dedicated monitoring mechanism being put in place at UT, district level
India Education Diary
It was also entrusted that benefits under these schemes must be Aadhaar seeded by September, 2020, after which the financial benefits will cease to ...
Mumbai runs out of Tocilizumab stock
Free Press Journal
... Covid 19 patient's test report and Aadhar card. “Recently, these squads had nabbed few people who were involved in the black marketing of these ...
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Daily update ⋅ 26 August 2020
Insurance Sector: The Latest In The Function Creep Of Aadhaar
In saying so, he had struck down the section which allowed for commercial exploitation of Aadhaar by private entities. But this was the minority opinion.
Use Aadhaar to get GST registration in just three days
Besides hassle-free registration, an applicant opting for authentication through Aadhaar to get a GST registration would get the approval within three ...
Aadhaar card update: You will no longer need any documents to make these changes
Check how to update Aadhaar card details like photograph, biometrics (finger print and iris scan), gender, mobile number and email ID in Aadhaar.
An Aadhaar-enabled gate to reduce community spread
The New Indian Express
However, Rizwin Azeez has a resolution involving the Aadhar card. “Prevention is all we can do until there exists a permanent solution for Covid-19.
Paytm Payments Bank enables banking services through Aadhaar cards
Times of India
The only inputs required for a customer to do a transaction under AePS mode are IIN (identification of the customer's bank), Aadhaar number and ...
RBI to MSMEs: No need to re-register under Udyog Aadhaar for reclassification as per new definition
... registration of existing units under Entrepreneurs Memorandum (EM) part II and Udyog Aadhaar Memorandum (UAM). The circular, which has been ...
Education deptt yet to complete Aadhaar enrolment of 42 per cent students, teachers
Besides, Aadhaar enrolment issue, an official of the department said that the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has advised the JK ...
Paytm Payments Bank enables banking services through Aadhar Cards
MUMBAI, Aug 24: Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) has enabled banking services through Aadhar Cards by integrating Aadhaar enabled Payment ...
'Privacy is a fundamental right that cannot be traded for other rights,' says TMC MP Mahua Moitra
Moitra cited a case where in villages, when she told villagers that they shouldn't give their Aadhaar details to get a Jio connection, the villagers told her ...
How to withdraw PF amount using UMANG App
Note that, for your EPF claims, you will be needed to provide verified KYC details, UAN number linked to Aadhaar, and Umang app linked to Aadhaar.
How to apply for Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY): All you need to know
Proof of identity (Aadhaar card, PAN card, voters' ID); Proof of address. Proof of income (Form 16, bank account statement, latest IT returns.) Here is how ...
Weekend lockdown crippling MSME-dominated retail; recovery continues to be in red from last year
Also read: RBI to MSMEs: No need to re-register under Udyog Aadhaar for reclassification as per new definition. “Beauty has not gone anywhere, ...
Questions remain over success of LPG scheme
The adoption of JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) trinity was supposed to get rid of this problem. An HT analysis of unit level data from a 2018 National ...
Govt has to stretch itself in the short term for economy's recovery: Singhania
Since Aadhaar is seeded with both ration cards and bank accounts, transfers could be made directly into bank accounts linked to each ration card.
Coronavirus LIVE Updates: ICMR Says 'Irresponsible People' Not Wearing Masks Driving ...
"Devotees have to register online one day prior to darshan and keep a copy of registration form and Aadhaar card at the time of temple visit.
TS DOST 2020-21 Application For Phase 1 College Admissions Starts
On completion of TS DOST registration through Aadhaar and phone number, students will receive their DOST ID and PIN through message. This will ...
Lord Padmanabha Swamy temple to open tomorrow but with restrictions
... of their visit to the shrine and before 5 pm, keep a copy of the same and carry their original Aadhaar card along with them during the temple visit.
Technology Powering Animal Husbandry & Dairy Sector: Atul Chaturvedi
This tag or Pashu Aadhaar contains a unique number on the body of an animal which can be read in the form of a barcode. The unique ID numbers ...
अकोला | आर्थिक संकटात सापडलेल्यांसाठी आधार
Zee २४ तास
... आधार. Something went wrong. Session ID bc72774e-5ad6-6b59-dca3-6535cd0fb59f:3042f297-a6cb-9dec-b96f-6ab54822fd92. Aokla,Balapur ...
Andhra govt doc jumps into Krishna river allegedly to take own life, search on
Yahoo India News
The police found a cell phone and Aadhaar card along with a GGH identity card as he had left them on the roadside of Prakasam barrage before ...
Daily update ⋅ 25 August 2020
Step-by-step guide to GST registration through Aadhaar authentication
Aadhaar authentication for new registration is expected to substantially enhance ease of doing businesses for genuine businesses. A person opting for ...
Paytm Payments Bank enables Aadhaar card-based services
With the integration of Aadhaar enabled Payment System (AePS), PPBL's customers can now access basic banking services such as cash withdrawal, ...
18 crore PAN cards to be defunct if not linked to Aadhaar by March 31, 2021: Report
The underlying logic is that linking PAN with Aadhaar would make it impossible for citizens to obtain additional PANs. The government also hopes to ...
Paytm Payments Bank alert! Now, cash withdrawal, balance enquiry and mini statement through ...
Aadhaar enabled Payment System (AePS) ... at PoS (Micro ATM) through the Business correspondent of any bank using the Aadhaar authentication.
'Businesses with annual turnover of up to Rs 40 lakh are now GST exempt': Finance Ministry
Businesses which will provide Aadhaar number while applying for registration under the Goods and Services Tax will get the approval in three ...
Paytm Payments Bank enables banking services through Aadhar Cards
MUMBAI : Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) has enabled banking services through Aadhar Cards by integrating Aadhaar enabled Payment System ...
Now apply for degree courses through DOST
If the candidate's Aadhaar number is not linked with a mobile number, such candidates should link their parent's mobile number with their Aadhaar at ...
How to update EPFO KYC details online? Here's a step-by-step guide
... has been successful in updating 2.39 lakh Aadhaar numbers, 4.28 lakh mobile numbers and 5.26 lakh bank accounts in the UAN of its subscribers.
T's digi ID violates privacy: Activists
Times of India
“Telangana has dedicated its new Aadhaar-like RTDAI using facial recognition to the public. The state is issuing these new digital identity systems to ...
2.91 lakh RTE applications, but only 37k confirm seats
Times of India
“The state education department has told us to submit Aadhaar cards of the remaining 75% of students to get reimbursement for the 25% students who ...
Construction workers make beeline for Delhi govt's camps in schools
Times of India
“I have brought all my documents, including voters' ID, bank passbook, Aadhaar card.” Many of those who queued up were those who had already ...
RBI extends MSME registration UAM/EM-II till March 31, 2021
''The existing Entrepreneurs Memorandum (EM) Part II and Udyog Aadhaar Memorandum (UAMs) of the MSMEs obtained till June 30, 2020 shall ...
Online registration system for purchase of fertilisers in Nizamabad
The Hans India
"We are increasing transparency by registering the details of fertilisers supplied to farmers online through the farmer's Aadhaar, pattadar passbook, ...
Sri Lankan don Angoda Lokka death in Coimbatore: Lawyer's bail plea dismissed
Times of India
... for hiding the identity of Sri Lankan don Angoda Lokka and forging documents to obtain an Aadhaar card him in the name of Pradeep Singh.
CBIC makes virtual hearing mandatory for GST appeal cases for expeditious disposal
Aadhaar authentication for new GST registration is active from August 21. For those opting for Aadhaar authentication, new GST registration will be ...
Telangana Degree Admission 2020: TS DOST Registration to Begin Today; More Details at dost ...
Yahoo India News
In order to complete the registration, the students will need their Aadhaar Number and the mobile number that is registered along with it. The personal ...
All India Radio
Government activates Aadhaar authentication for new GST registration. Chattisgarh and Puducherry abolish e-pass system for inter-state or intra-state ...
National AI strategy to benefit the less-privileged: Kant
He cited the example of Jan Dhan bank accounts, Aadhaar identification, and mobile phones to ensure inclusiveness via direct benefit transfers.
'All Pending Applicants To Be Provided Domicile Certificates In Next 15 Days': J&K LG Manoj Sinha
He set 30 September as the deadline for 100 per cent Aadhaar enrolment to ensure uninterrupted disbursal of benefits through the Direct Benefit ...
Man loses Rs 1 lakh to online fraudsters
Convinced, Parmar gave the details of his credit card and his Aadhaar card as well as the one-time password which he had received on his mobile ...
Hunger death: 5-yr-old's kin get ration card, bank a/c, free edu, gas & power supply
Times of India
Meanwhile, we will make arrangements to secure them a ration card, Aadhaar card, bank account and a gas connection. We are also planning to ...
Seven BoB customers find money missing from their savings accounts in Pilibhit
Times of India
Such frauds had also become easy to commit when money is transferred through the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS), he added.
Free treatment for patients at JLNMCH
Times of India
... besides Aadhaar card, ration card etc for free testing and treatment as 'biometric fingerprint identification' of the beneficiary patients has to be taken.
Delhi: Construction workers can avail of 18 govt schemes after registering in mega drive
Times of India
... photograph, local ID proof, bank account number and Aadhaar card. “If proper documents are furnished, the process of registration and verification ...
Major worries for micro credit: Vendors lukewarm to Central government assistance
The Hans India
According to vendors, the procedure for applying loan is cumbersome due to requisite conditions like Aadhaar card must be linked with phone number ...
FMGE 2020 admit card to be released today, check details here
Aadhaar card; Passport; Voter id card; PAN card; Driving License. Details mentioned on the FMGE 2020 admit card. Name of the candidate ...
Two more additional directors appointed for Karnataka Bank Ltd
United News of India
Mumbai, Aug 24 (UNI) Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) has enabled banking services through Aadhar Cards by integrating Aadhaar enabled ...
Govt. doctor jumps to death in Krishna river over family disputes in Andhra Pradesh
The Hans India
... barrage had moved suspiciously for a while and jumped into the river leaving his bike, Aadhaar Card, ID Card and mobile on the pavement.