uid

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 scholar Usha Ramanathan describes 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


Special

Here is what the Parliament Standing Committee on Finance, which examined the draft N I A Bill said.

1. There is no feasibility study of the project]

2. The project was approved in haste

3. The system has far-reaching consequences for national security

4. The project is directionless with no clarity of purpose

5. It is built on unreliable and untested technology

6. The exercise becomes futile in case the project does not continue beyond the present number of 200 million enrolments

7. There is lack of coordination and difference of views between various departments and ministries of government on the project

Quotes

What was said before the elections:

NPR & UID aiding Aliens – Narendra Modi

"I don't agree to Nandan Nilekeni and his madcap (UID) scheme which he is trying to promote," Senior BJP Leader Yashwant Sinha, Sept 2012

"All we have to show for the hundreds of thousands of crore spent on Aadhar is a Congress ticket for Nilekani" Yashwant Sinha.(27/02/2014)

TV Mohandas Pai, former chief financial officer and head of human resources, tweeted: "selling his soul for power; made his money in the company wedded to meritocracy." Money Life Article

Nilekani’s reporting structure is unprecedented in history; he reports directly to the Prime Minister, thus bypassing all checks and balances in government - Home Minister Chidambaram

To refer to Aadhaar as an anti corruption tool despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary is mystifying. That it is now officially a Rs.50,000 Crores solution searching for an explanation is also without any doubt. -- Statement by Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP & Member, Standing Committee on Finance

Finance minister P Chidambaram’s statement, in an exit interview to this newspaper, that Aadhaar needs to be re-thought completely is probably the last nail in its coffin. :-) Financial Express

The Rural Development Ministry headed by Jairam Ramesh created a road Block and refused to make Aadhaar mandatory for making wage payment to people enrolled under the world’s largest social security scheme NRGA unless all residents are covered.


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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

11637 - A DNA profiling law is dystopian nightmare without the fundamental right to privacy - Daily O



As government readies to table the Human DNA Profiling Bill in Parliament, we need to ask what are the safeguards to ensure the database isn't misused.

 |  ANGIOGRAPHY  |  7-minute read |   24-07-2017



In July 2015, when the Human DNA Profiling Bill was supposed to be tabled in Parliament for the first time, debates about its reliability, efficacy, adherence to privacy and costs forced the Centre to postpone introducing the Bill in the House.
Since that time, however, the debate around Aadhaar and its biometrics-based central database has brought to fore many aspects of privacy and data (in) security.

Moreover, the demand to claim privacy as a fundamental right has gained ground to the extent that a nine-judge Supreme Court bench is finally hearing the matter since last week.
Exactly as the privacy case is being heard in the top court, and legal and constitutional rebuttals are being given to the Centre's claim in June this year that "citizens don't have absolute rights over their own bodies", that "bodily autonomy isn't absolute", we might have the potential introduction of the Human DNA Profiling Bill into Parliament once again.

Centre has indicated to the SC that it's ready to table the DNA Profiling Bill, even though Indians are still without a strong privacy framework, without a privacy law and without a fundamental right to privacy.

It's precisely in the intersection of these two situations that the DNA Profiling Bill's central tenet of forming a DNA database is so problematic, and certainly prone to gross misuse. But before we go there, we need to briefly summarise the criticisms of the DNA Bill itself.

The 2015 draft version of the Human DNA Profiling Bill laid out its goals, which were ostensibly in the interest of quickening and expanding the criminal justice delivery system.
Drafted by the department of biotechnology in the ministry of science and technology, the DNA Profiling Bill intends to use DNA identification to ID the unclaimed dead, to track down missing persons, and to maintain a central database of DNA profiles of those with criminal records, whether convicted or undertrials.

There would be a DNA Profiling Board, which would allow/disallow profiling of DNA in criminal cases, but the question remains who would watch the Board itself and its huge discretionary powers to include or exclude DNA profiles of people.

The DNA Profiling Bill's inherent assumption of its inviolability is therefore at the root of the concerns over this draft legislation. (Creative Commons.)

In an exhaustive piece published in The Wire in July 2015, all these concerns were laid out comprehensively, including the question of consent of the individuals whose DNA would be profiled, or added to the data bank.

For example, the clause that part of the database would be used for population studies leaves the vagueness about whose DNA will be included in such studies and why absolutely unanswered.
Because DNA profiling is the most accurate so far in forensic techniques, but is by no means infallible, the DNA Profiling Bill's inherent assumption of its inviolability is therefore at the root of the concerns over this draft legislation.

This is a similar assumption that drives the Aadhaar project of the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI), in which a priori infallibility of a programme informs each and every aspect of how it's legislated and administered, with rules tweaked every now and then to suit the regime, while the rights of citizens become increasingly compromised and eventually dispensable.
Yes, DNA profiling laws have been enacted in countries like the USA, UK and Canada, but here the laws are supplemented with the enshrined right to privacy. Data protection is sacrosanct and the citizens' digital and bodily integrity isn't left at the mercy of a beneficent board that would oversee the collection of DNA profiles from criminals, the dead and the missing.

In addition, the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) would need to deal with cases of evidence tampering, which, even while being punishable under law, would not deter those with vested interests to interfere with and influence the outcome of the so-called infallible DNA analysis.

There are major and worrying similarities between the way Aadhaar has been pushed to become an illegally mandatory identificatory burden on India's 1.3 billion citizens, most of whom are poor and downtrodden, and the manner in which the Human DNA Profiling Bill and the DNA database is being pushed by those who believe in the project.

Just like Aadhaar was initially marketed as a voluntary identification proof intended for the welfare and public distribution system, only to be expanded staggeringly and now forcibly being linked to each and every aspect of a citizen's life and socioeconomic existence, we have the relatively benign beginning of the DNA Profiling Bill, invested in, as it seems, ensuring a faster and more efficient criminal justice delivery system.

Given the Aadhaar template, we have already seen how an ostensibly limited project meant for welfare delivery becomes too big to fail; how the State brushes under the carpet each and every failing, the massive security breaches and the infringement into the citizens' fundamental rights to freedom, life and liberty, right against exploitation, etc., in order to keep afloat a programme so invasive that it reduces the citizens to data points.

If data is the new oil, then drilling deep into the citizens for data mining and excavating information that is private and sensitive in nature only to allow that to be widely used for commercial purposes is becoming the order of the day.

Aadhaar has been pushed to become an illegally mandatory identificatory burden on India's 1.3 billion citizens, most of whom are poor and downtrodden.
Aadhaar is the state-approved illegal data mining of the citizens, that even an implied right to privacy couldn't effectively put a stop to.

This is the reason why the nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court is hearing the case to determine if there's a fundamental right to privacy, which can't be changed or tweaked to let citizens be at the mercy of an authoritarian government that is obsessed with controlling, surveiling and curtailing its citizens.
Of course, we have also seen the Centre's double standards on privacy when Aadhaar is compared to the ongoing WhatsApp data sharing case in the Supreme Court, in which the government has held that data is an extension of the citizen and data privacy is therefore absolute.

Similarly, a Human DNA Profiling Bill that intends to build a databank of DNA - culled from "criminals", the dead and the missing - when legislated without the fundamental right to privacy would create a dystopian nightmare for the citizens of the country.

Because the fundamental rights are natural rights, they pre-exist and become the matrix of the social contract between the citizens and the State, a fundamental right to privacy, and a privacy law for data protection, for digital and bodily consent, and related aspects are required before any DNA profiling or biometrics-based databank can be legitimately built.
At a time when citizens are becoming criminalised because of the nature of the meat stored in their refrigerators, or what they eat, choose to wear, whom they love or choose to marry; when crimes, even murders, committed in the name of the cow, or a particular god belonging to majority religion, are automatically exonerated, or not acted upon, or even hailed as vigilante heroism - the line between criminality and innocence is indeed very thin.

With persons of a minority religion being arrested over a received WhatsApp message, that too against the grave charges of sedition, it's increasingly becoming criminal to just be a minority - religious, sexual, linguistic, ideological - in this country.  

Given these very trying times, when our basic values are being questioned and democracy itself is being imperilled by an onslaught of communal and violent propaganda, when history is being airbrushed at an unprecedented pace, the definition of who is a criminal and who isn't is solely at the mercy of a State that views its citizens as data points to perpetuate a national security state.
Without a fundamental right to privacy, a robust and expansive privacy law - any system that relies on human DNA, biometrics and other data that can be stored centrally and accessed by a number of "authorised" entities, becomes a repository of potential abuse, exploitation, exclusion, surveillance and control.

Technology is a double-edged sword and must be handled carefully by those in power, while its impact on the citizens must be limited by generously enshrined laws and constitutional guarantees to life, liberty and freedoms.


11636 - Aadhaar Articles Dated 25th July 2017



Times of India
NEW DELHI: At a time when a constitution bench of the Supreme Court is hearing the privacy plea in the Aadhaar case, a two-judge bench of the apex ...
Privacy matters far beyond Aadhaar - Economic Times (blog)



Economic Times
In its appraisal of the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-17), the Aayog said the Aadhaar platform needs to be broad-based and linked with beneficiary ...






Khaleej Times
According to a manager of the NRI section of State Bank of India (SBI), the government has not exempted Indian expats from the Aadhaar card.






findBIOMETRICS
Indian Supreme Court Faces Thorny Privacy Question Over Aadhaar The case was launched in response to the expansion of Aadhaar, India's ...



Times of India
GURUGRAM: A camp to distribute Aadhaar cards among residents of sectors 3, 5 and 6 of Gurgaon was held from 11am to 5pm on Sunday in Sector ...






Times of India
He had to wait for nearly seven hours for updating his date of birth in Aadhaar information at the City Post Office on Monday. This meant he had to take ...






Firstpost
My ongoing battle with Aadhaar has rekindled a vicious dislike for paperwork tigers who wish to order and reorder our lives and livelihood. It leaves ...



Kasmir Monitor
Srinagar, Jul 23: Raising concern over the slow pace of Aadhaar enrollment process, the people have demanded setting up of more Aadhaar centres ...



Swarajya
From its origin to its present mammoth persona, author Shankkar Aiyar's book Aadhaar: A Biometric History Of India's 12-Digit Revolution, takes the ...






News18
Post July 1st anyone who is filing the Income Tax Returns has to link his PAN and Aadhaar as ITRs without PAN are not possible now.






Times of India
District agriculture officer RT Yadav said, “In the first phase, only farmers having Aadhaar cards will get the benefit of the scheme. Farmers having no ...






Deccan Herald
We have told people to share Aadhaar numbers for linking with PAN. But if a person does not have Aadhaar, it is not a problem,” Rajnish Kumar, ...






Times of India
He secured the duplicate Aadhaar cards - one with a Bihar address and another with Kilakarai address - with the help of a Sri Lankan national at ...



The New Indian Express
Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said that with the linking of PAN with Aadhaar the entire era of bogus bank account and holding multiple PAN will ...






The Arunachal Times
Both PRI members have claimed that the government's recent decision to link Aadhaar and bank accounts for most of the welfare schemes is ...






India TV
The Ministry of External Affairs clarified last week that Aadhaar or PAN card besides other documents can also be used to establish proof of birth.




Oneindia
Farmers in Maharashtra can start applying to avail the loan waiver scheme from Monday, however, Aadhaar has been made compulsory for every ...





Business Standard
Referring to opposition of PAN-Aadhaar linkage, he said it is an "effective anti-evasion measure" and will get rid of multiple PAN cards and mismatch ...



Avenue Mail
Jamshedpur, July 24: Aadhaar holders can now get their UID numbers corrected or updated through post offices. Entering into an Memorandum of ...






International Business Times, India Edition
Not having an Aadhaar card or its application number might turn into a difficulty for tax payers with income more than Rs 5 Lakh as they have to file ...





Times Now
Taxpayers boycott Aadhaar; file IT returns manually Description: Section 139AA of the I-T Act has made it compulsory to quote Aadhaar number or the ...






India Today
As per the Finance Act 2017, it is now mandatory to mention your Aadhaar number (12-digit) or 28-digit Aadhaar enrollment number. After registering ...






Brainbuxa
Government is planning to make the Aadhaar card compulsory for the students who plan on pursuing the online courses in near future. Also, only the ...

11635 - While Centre bats for privacy in WhatsApp case, contradicts its stand in Aadhaar case - One India

Posted By: Oneindia Staff Writer Updated: Saturday, July 22, 2017, 12:52 [IST] Subscribe to Oneindia News New Delhi, July 22: 

The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that it will come out with regulations to protect user data. The government made the statement in a submission to the bench examining the WhatsApp privacy policy case, reported PTI. The government also said, user data was integral to right to life and personal liberty. The Union's submission in the WhatsApp privacy case on Friday was the complete opposite from the stand it has taken so far in the Aadhaar case. Representing the Centre before a five-judge constitutional bench, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) PS Narisimha submitted that any service provider or social media platform that shared any personal data which impinged on a person's Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution would need to be regulated. The bench is hearing a petition filed by students led by Karmanya Singh Sareen alleging that a data-sharing contract entered into between Facebook and instant messaging platform WhatsApp in 2016 is a violation of the citizens' right to privacy. This data includes photographs, messages, pictures shared by the users on WhatsApp. In the hour-long hearing in the WhatsApp case, senior advocate Kapil Sibal argued that his client employs end-to-end encryption and has no scope of interference by a third party. Incidentally, the stand taken by the Centre in this WhatsApp case does not gel with its position in Aadhaar case which is before Chief Justice of India Khehar-led nine-judge Constitution Bench, which is now examining whether the right of a citizen to remain private and to not part with his personal information or data to neither the State nor private parties is absolute and fundamental to his dignity and liberty. The petitioners in the Aadhaar case have argued that citizens should not be compelled by the State to suffer the indignity of being made to part with their personal data like biometric details to access welfare and benefits due to them by right. The Centre has maintained in the Aadhaar case that privacy or the "right to be left alone" is not a fundamental right under the Constitution, but only a common law right which can be subject to State intervention. The nine-judge Bench was convened to decide on the question of privacy on a referral from a five-judge Bench hearing the Aadhaar case. OneIndia News (with agency inputs)


11634 - Aadhaar case: Infosys cofounder Nandan Nilekani says privacy debate taking away focus from issue of using data to benefit people - Financial Express

Even as a nine-member Constitution bench of the Supreme Court (SC) is examining whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right, in the wake of citizens having to part with biometric data for unique ID Aadhaar, Nandan Nilekani on Saturday said the privacy debate is taking away focus from the real issue of using data to benefit people.

By: FE Bureau | New Delhi | Published: July 23, 2017 5:27 AM

Even as a nine-member Constitution bench of the Supreme Court (SC) is examining whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right, in the wake of citizens having to part with biometric data for unique ID Aadhaar, Nandan Nilekani on Saturday said the privacy debate is taking away focus from the real issue of using data to benefit people. (PTI)

Even as a nine-member Constitution bench of the Supreme Court (SC) is examining whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right, in the wake of citizens having to part with biometric data for unique ID Aadhaar, Nandan Nilekani on Saturday said the privacy debate is taking away focus from the real issue of using data to benefit people. “We need to have a law that (mandates) whoever collects data, be it an Indian or global company or the government, will share data with consumers/businesses on request,” Nilekani said at the Delhi Economics Conclave here. This is a very fundamental thing which could put the economy on cycle of growth using data. It would empowers users with data, remove knowledge asymmetry and promote innovation, he said. Nilekani, former head of the Unique ID Authority of India, which implemented the Aadhaar project, urged policymakers to take steps for data inversion to empower users, who can benefit from their own data.


Citing the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), which would alone generate one billion records each month on items being bought/sold, he said such data, for instance, can be used by businesses to secure bank loans. Similarly, a Facebook or Google user can take his entire data graph and switch to a rival platform. This would lead to “data democracy” and companies can no longer force individuals to accept their terms and conditions.

11633 - Aadhar: Privacy is not a unidimensional concept - Economic Times

Aadhar: Privacy is not a unidimensional concept

BY ET CONTRIBUTORS | JUL 23, 2017, 12.01 AM IST

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By Amber Sinha 

Right to privacy is important not only for our negotiations with the information age but also to counter the transgressions of a welfare state. A robust right to privacy is essential for all Indian citizens to defend their individual autonomy in the face of invasive state actions purportedly for the public good. The ruling of this nine-judge bench will have far-reaching impact on the extent and scope of rights available to us all. In a disappointing  .. 

Read more at:

11632 - Aadhaar Articles dated 23rd July 2017



Economic Times
It is de rigueur to advocate right to privacy and ridicule the state and its instrumentalities. Aadhaar, too, has become a victim of this neoliberalism as it ...






Times of India
CHENNAI: If you are one of those yet to link your PAN card with Aadhaar as directed by the Income Tax department, you are among the majority.



The Hindu
Owing to lack of awareness, Mr Singh has not linked his bank account to his Aadhaar number, which is mandatory to avail of the scheme. “I had no ...






Economic Times
The AP Shah report got lost in the melee as the Central government changed, as did the mood related to Aadhaar, the nationwide unique identification ...






findBIOMETRICS
Uber, India-based ride-hailing service Ola, and Airbnb are considering implementing Aadhaar authentication for their service providers, reports ...



Economic Times
“The world has much to learn about from the Aadhaar project,” he said, calling it a remarkable technological accomplishment with huge benefits.



Economic Times
The answer to that can be found in a series of hearings in the Aadhaar case that began in 2012. Justice KS Puttaswamy, a former Karnataka High ...



The Hindu
Andhra Pradesh has registered 97% Aadhaar enrolment so far. While the population is 5,25,78,407, the Aadhaar enrolment stood at 5,12,50,387.






BloombergQuint
Only about a third of individuals who hold permanent account numbers (PAN) have linked them with Aadhaar so far, even as the government made it ...






Times of India
Ward offices directed to double as Aadhaar enrolment centres ... Meanwhile, the postal department too started operating Aadhaar centres on their ...






DailyO
The other case being heard in the apex court pertains to the Aadhaar scheme, and the Modi government at the Centre questioning the existence of the ...
Privacy concerns - Hindu Business Line



NewsBytes
They're shunning Aadhaar and going for the laborious method of filing returns manually via snail-mail to show their dissent. To avoid it, some have ...






Business Standard (press release) (registration) (blog)
The work and work space could not have been more typical of a start-up. The core team of UIDAI [Unique Identification Authority of India] operated in ...






Zee News
Aadhaar card is likely to be made compulsory for pursuing all online courses. Also, only those universities which have been existing for at least five ...






Times of India
PF claims, like advances for personal needs or withdrawal of the amount on retirement, can now be made online using Aadhaar number. However ...






The Hindu
Asserting that this excludes sensitive information like Aadhaar details or PAN numbers, Mr. Doshi said it was possible to obtain an RJio subscriber's ...






Times of India
Diwe also directed officials to ensure issuance of Aadhaar card to all students along with opening individual bank accounts. "Grant of school uniforms ...






The Indian Express
Nilekani said that data from tools such as Aadhaar is fundamental for putting the economy on a cycle of growth, and could empower users with data, ...






BFSI Post Magazine | Elets
The introduction of Aadhaar card and Aadhaar authentication through UIDAI has been a game changer in the Indian banking Technology in the last ...






Times of India
The key features of this scheme are direct benefit transfer of fertilizer subsidy to farmers with bank accounts linked to Aadhaar, direct fertilizer ...






The Quint
Aadhaar is slowly becoming a vital part of our lives. You're expected to link Aadhaar with your mobile number, and by the end of 2017, you must link it ...

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

11631 - Former US chief data scientist D J Patil on data science’s relevance, Aadhaar, and the importance of ethics - Factor Daily



Story Highlights
  • "Just because you can with data doesn't mean you should," says D J Patil. These data sets, with GST, biometric information, are extraordinarily sensitive
  • Aadhaar and the Goods and Services Tax Network are something that India should be “proud of having rolled out"
  • The best way to have the discourse on the ethics of data science is to have policymakers make sure that technologists work hand in hand with with them and also have “real people” at the table
As India rolls out technology-based systems like Aadhaar, policymakers and technologists must also focus on the ethics of data science and bring real people into the discussion, one of the top data scientists in the world said.
D J Patil, a former chief data scientist at the White House, said in an interview with FactorDaily, “Just because you can with data doesn’t mean you should. So, these data sets, with GST, biometric information, these are extraordinarily sensitive data sets.”
Patil, who believes that programs like Aadhaar and the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) are something that India should be “proud of having rolled out,” said that the discourse on the ethics of data science is an important one to have.
Patil, who believes that programs like Aadhaar and the Goods and Services Tax Network are something that India should be “proud of having rolled out,” said that the discourse on the ethics of data science is an important one to have  
“I have not spent enough time understanding all the nuances, or the different complexities with different parts of India with regards to the system. So, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to have to say this is right or wrong,” said Patil, who is on a three-week trip to India. “But everybody should be asking, do we want the data to be used for this? Or this? That’s a question for society. Data scientists should be hoping to facilitate that conversation,” he said.
The best way to have this discourse is to have policymakers make sure that technologists are working hand in hand with with them and also have “real people” at the table. “Not some lobby group that represents people. The actual people. And they have to all be sitting at the table, talking about the hardest parts of the problem,” said Patil, who along with top data scientist Jeff Hammerbacher coined the term “data scientist”. During the Obama administration, Patil became the first ever chief data scientist to be appointed by the US government.
Patil covered a range of topics — from using data science in medicine to justice systems and starting a career in data science — in an hour-long conversation with FactorDaily. We’re running the interview in two parts. In this first part, the edited excerpts deal with the ethics of data science and some burning questions.
You co-authored a post in Harvard Business Review in 2012 that called data science The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century. Does that still hold true? How much of a data scientist’s job has been automated, or is at risk of automation?
That article was written with my co-author Tom Davenport, and he has been an analytics person working in the field for decades, much longer than I have. We didn’t actually come up with the title for the article. Harvard Business Review came up with the title. And so would I generally say that it shows that Harvard has learned something from the Kardashians. About how to get people to click on something.







The part we think is we’re at is the beginning of seeing what people can do with data, whether (we) call it data science, statistics, economics, computer science or machine learning and AI. These things are just starting, but they’ve been also going on a long time  
It really has proven that you can take extremely unsexy things, and if you look at them, and you see the value and the power that they can provide, they are extraordinarily interesting and sexy areas, as they provide disproportionate value.
So that is fundamentally why data is viewed as such a sexy area. The part we think is we’re at is the beginning of seeing what people can do with data, whether (we) call it data science, statistics, economics, computer science or machine learning and AI. These things are just starting, but they’ve been also going on a long time.
Speaking of data-driven companies such as Facebook and Google, has India lost the opportunity in this space to create consumer-focused companies on data moats?
No, I think the opportunity is ahead. You know, Flipkart, Ola, are two great examples that are in just that space, but there’s so much more, India has an incredible opportunity to really make the notion of smart cities real. The investment that’s being put in place, the raw passion of the entire population is extraordinary. You know people talk about — well India doesn’t have the technical capabilities — India just rolled out the ID cards (UIDAI). That like a billion people on these cards, and all the infrastructure, and all the different things that are required to make that work.
Opportunities in India to harness big data. In a previous interview, you had mentioned how the GST records are also a huge treasure trove of information…
One thing that’s very important to talk about is that a key aspect that’s intrinsic to data science is the need for ethics. One of the things, when I was in office that we called for is that every data training program — data science, economics, statistics, computer science, machine learning, whatever you wanna call these things — they all have to have ethics and security as a core component of the curriculum. Just because you can with data doesn’t mean you should. So these data sets, with GST, biometric information, these are extraordinarily sensitive data sets. That doesn’t mean we should be using them in these different manners. There’s the use of the data, and how the data is collected and making sure that there’s an ability document people. That’s great. But everybody should be asking, do we want the data to be used for this? Or this? That’s a question for society. Data scientists should be hoping to facilitate that conversation. I think one thing that’s very important to talk about is that a key aspect that is intrinsic today in sciences is a need for ethics.
With all the data dumps going around…
That’s what we refer to as a breach. Someone coming in and stealing your data. That’s critical. What’s going to happen is we’re going to have a different type of attack, which is people are going to come in and corrupt data, or manipulate data. We’re seeing versions of that right now around ransomware, where people come in, and encrypt your data, and they hold it hostage, they hold it for ransom. And only if you pay them do they unlock your data. We need to get ready for that event. Many of these bad guys are going to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to figure out how to attack systems equally as much. And we need to get ready for that type of fight. And the way to defend that is that the machinery is going to be very data-driven.
How does one get around to talking about the ethics of user data, and to what end?
First, it starts with a common language, so that we can have a conversation about ethics. Right now, there isn’t that common language. So that’s why it’s so critical, that every person that trains in any kind of data science program must have some ethics curriculum. It can’t be some elective thing that you take later, or on the side. It (needs) to be built into everything. If you’re trying to do a project where you’re collecting data about, say, people’s faces, and you’re doing facial recognition, you have to ask yourself right at that moment, is it acceptable to be collecting and storing a child’s information? Some cases, the answer may be yes. Many other cases, the answer is probably no. So, how do you make that nuance? You have to have a vocabulary to do that. The next part of that also comes into making sure that that data is secure, and safe, and how do you store it, where do you put it. And that’s why security has become equally part and parcel with (sic) this conversation. The other thing that’s there is that it’s not just up to data scientists to decide what is ethical. It’s up to the community. It’s the people who have contributed the data. The number one way to do that is data scientists don’t just operate in a vacuum. You have to have the actual people having a seat at the table as you’re designing the system, designing the algorithms, and thinking about this.


Right now, everyone’s focused purely on the access of data, and do you have my data, can I have my data… We’re not talking about the algorithms that sit on top of this. Well, how do we ask what happens if the algorithm biases me versus another person? What does that world look like?  
Right now, everyone’s focused purely on the access of data, and do you have my data, can I have my data… We’re not talking about the algorithms that sit on top of this. Well, how do we ask what happens if the algorithm biases me versus another person? What does that world look like? You know that’s where this starts out. By the way, this is happening now. If you apply for a job and you take some type of personality test, you don’t know what and how to think about this.
Let me give you a very specific set of examples. Right now, you take it to personality test. You have no idea if that personality is accurate, if it thinks about the system, or its being biased in some way. In the United States, we have this, if you go get put in jail, or you know somebody thinks you’ve done a crime, you have to post what we call a bond. There’s a calculation of how much you should pay. And so people actually have built these calculators for judges to help assess you. Turns out some of these calculators were using race, and other type of features. That’s not ok! How many other places is this happening? If a self-driving car is being trained, only around populations where there is one type of people, like say white people. Is it going to see a person in a saree? Is it going to see a black person? Is it going to see a person that’s in a wheelchair, with crutches? We need to start to start asking those questions of what’s in the data sets? That is coming fast. That world is here.
The way I try to explain to people is, in fabric of society we live in it (sic)… we see cracks in it. Journalists tell stories about it. Activists help rally people around to say this is a problem. We design policy. We find solutions, and we fix it. What happens when the fabric of society is digital? If you show up to get medical care, or to get a service like a ration or something, and the computer says no. What happens if it was just one database being slow and updating the other database? What then? How do you have recourse? The way we have recourse right now is somebody is there that’s a human, and they’re able to say, ‘oh clearly this is a mistake. I’ll fix it.’ What if there’s no human there, and it’s just a machine? What if it’s an algorithm, and somebody says, well sorry, the machine says this. What’s your recourse? How how do journalists tell stories about it? How do activist rally people to the cause? We just take for granted what we see on the screen. That’s an exceptionally dangerous world. It’s dangerous because it is susceptible to attack, and it could be biased from the start. That’s the world we have to start getting ready for. That’s why ethics and all of this is so critical.
There are arguments for and against Aadhaar. What is your take?
So, the very first thing that I need to be upfront with is I have not spent enough time understanding all the nuances, or the different complexities with different parts of India with regards to the system. So it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to have to say this is right or wrong. But here’s the part that I can say very concretely. Most big IT projects and technical initiatives of this nature have typically failed. Yet this one has gone out. It’s rolled out! So, everyone should first be proud of the fact that such a big thing was able to be accomplished.
Now, the next part I think it is a question (sic) of how does it get utilised, and what are those questions? That’s what I would encourage people to do, that it’s a public discourse that has to happen. And the best way to do that is for policymakers to make sure that technologists are working hand-in-hand with the policy people, and that real people have to be at the table too. Not some lobby group that represents people. The actual people. And they have to all be sitting at the table, talking about the hardest parts of the problem. That’s the only way you get to right answers here.

But if the general measure is — can we actually have an accurate estimate of how many people are in the country, and how do we actually provide better services for them? That sounds like a very lofty goal to me  
The part there that is going to be critical in where this often goes wrong for a policy perspective, is that policy people don’t have technologists, and so they say ooh! That’s a great system, let’s use it for this. But the system was never designed for that. And so and I don’t know if this is true or not, but it’s very likely that people are asking these systems to be used for things that it wasn’t actually designed for. We blame the technology, rather than what we’re trying to do with it. But if the general measure is — can we actually have an accurate estimate of how many people are in the country, and how do we actually provide better services for them? That sounds like a very lofty goal to me.
Your thoughts on the impact of big data, and in particular, Cambridge Analytica, on the pro-Brexit campaign, and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign?
I don’t have a comment on Cambridge Analytica, because I’ve spent no time on it. But I find it generally hard to believe that any analysis just on social media, or psychometric, or any of these things actually really has the values that have been claimed. It’s so hard just to do the basics of analysis. It strikes me as pretty far fetched.
But the other part we should talk about is: Everyone should be extremely clear — the United States democratic system was attacked in our last election. India is about to go through an election, and it’s wise to recognise the type of attack that we saw against the United States. A similar attack was done against France. That attack happened in two ways. One: It was very clearly an attack by trying to get information out of people’s e-mails that was private. And stealing information. The second: Was using propaganda and abusing systems to get messages out that were misleading, and designed to elicit fear from populations. That is what people refer to as fake news. That can happen here in India, equally as well as it happened in the United States.
We are now going through a tough conversation about how to make sure that doesn’t happen again. I would encourage everyone here in India to really start asking about how are we going to ensure, that the world’s largest democracy is not going to be impacted or abused in any similar way.


Video and lead image by Rajesh Subramanian

11630 - Aadhaar and right to privacy: Why India has to set tone as the largest digital democracy - Indian Express


In the digital age, with more and more users coming online by the day, it is set to have a huge impact on the digital user and their confidence to stay online.

Written by Kanishka Singh | New Delhi | Updated: July 21, 2017 7:24 pm









 Legal experts believe such a right protects personal liberties and its absence can allow a possible surveillance mechanism by both the state and private players.

The debate around Aadhaar and right to privacy has intensified over the past few days. A nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is deliberating whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right or not. Even as the matter is decided, the state is moving swiftly ahead with the Aadhaar project and mandating the public to enroll and link Aadhaar to various personal entities that arguably encroach on the right of privacy of an individual. Legal experts believe such a right protects personal liberties and its absence can allow a possible surveillance mechanism by both the state and private players.
In the digital age, Aadhaar and the push for digital India means a world where the government and private players could have maximum access to your personal information, communication, whereabouts, financial dealings, day-to-day transactions, purchases’ history and other data that you would want to keep to yourself or to a selected audience. In the digital age, with more and more users coming online by the day, it is set to have a huge impact on the digital user and their confidence to stay online.
Raman Chima, co-founder of Save the Internet Foundation and and global policy director at digital rights advocacy group Access Now, pointed out that according to laws like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, states do monitoring but after passing certain tests of necessity. “Specific surveillance or monitoring if done after passing those certain tests laid down in our fundamental rights is reasonable.” He added that “mass surveillance, on the other hand, would not be something that would be acceptable.”
“India is the largest digital democracy, having the second largest internet userbase in the world after China. Hence, privacy on the internet also assumes importance. As more and more people come online, they would be less aware of how much of their private data is being collected by either the government or private organisations,” Chima said, adding that as a result the individual must the power to limit or control that collection and prevent the misuse of that information.
According to Mishi Choudhary, president and founder of Software Freedom Law Centre, “In the age of biometric identification, social profiles, and cashless economic transactions, not having such a right damages an essential component of all personal liberties and other fundamental rights that we have which cannot be freely exercised. This leaves the possibility of a surveillance mechanism both by private companies as well as the government.”
The apex court is hearing the matter of existence of fundamental right of privacy with regards to the case Justice K.S. Puttaswamy and others versus Union of India and others. The court on Thursday questioned the reservations to allow government access to private data when people surrender such information to private players easily. However, the question of autonomy seems to play out in such circumstances.
“If a person voluntarily gives up some information to avail some subsidy, that should not affect their right to privacy but such data should be used only for the purpose its been collected, only by persons who are authorised to access it and must be secured,” Mishi said, adding, “Privacy, particularly when we talk about the net, really means three–secrecy, anonymity and autonomy. These three are the principal components privacy. With respect to each, further consideration shows that it is a precondition to the order that we call “democracy”, “ordered liberty”, “self-government”, to the particular scheme that we call in the United States “constitutional freedom.”
The issue of protection of collected demographic and biometric data by the Aadhaar issuing UIDAI and liability is also confidence-bearing. Since the Aadhaar was passed as a money bill and as a result, UIDAI and its agencies were not given corporate entity status. Hence, they can’t be held liable or prosecuted. The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 doesn’t allow a person to go to court if his or her data is misused or leaked. Only the UIDAI has that authority. Furthermore, the person can’t demand access to their data as well. Aadhar was passed as a money bill so it is not giving the corporate entity status UIDAI and its agencies so that they can be held liable and prosecuted.
On July 19, 2017, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology P.P. Chaudhary said in a written reply in Lok Sabha that “there has been no leakage of Aadhaar data from UIDAI. However, it was found that around 210 websites of Central Government, State Government, Departments including educational institutes were displaying the list of beneficiaries along with their name, address, other details and Aadhaar numbers for information of general public.”