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.

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


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


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.

Friday, October 20, 2017

12157 - Why Creating A National ID System Would Threaten Americans’ Privacy And Security - The Federalist

The proposition that the federal government should be entrusted with even more information on citizens is a bit of a high-stakes gamble.

OCTOBER 19, 2017

Kyle Sammin cogently argues that the United States should implement a voluntary national identity system in the wake of the Equifax hacking. Debate about this issue has roiled for decades. Although numerous countries have a national identification system, Americans have long resisted the idea.

The Social Security number (SSN) has certainly expanded beyond its original purpose of serving as an account number for benefits, but policy-makers have repeatedly rejected calls to convert it into an identifier. The Clinton administration’s 1993 proposal of a “Health Security Card” never got off the ground, and even after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Congress made clear in creating the Department of Homeland Security that DHS was not authorized to create a national ID system.

The reason for this attitude is clear: Americans traditionally treasure their privacy, and anything that smacks of government surveillance and tracking has always been considered fundamentally un-American.

But the siren song of wondrous modern technology calls some to revisit the issue. Although Sammin acknowledges Americans’ suspicion of federal identity-tracking, he argues that SSNs, passports, and federal mandates on state drivers’ licenses (through the Real ID Act of 2005) already create federal involvement. He decries the “hodgepodge of barely functional documents issued by the federal government combined with federal coercion in how the states issue their own IDs.” The feds are already there, he argues, so we may as well accept it and implement policies to protect identities better than credit-reporting agencies do.

It’s Preposterous to Say the Feds Can Manage Data Better
At the outset, let’s dispose of the contention that the federal government can keep personal data secure. The 2015 breach of the Office of Personnel Management’s data system exposed sensitive data, including SSNs, of approximately 21.5 million people. Apparently the hackers successfully struck not once, but twice. OPM officials admitted that the data had not been encrypted or otherwise protected because the computers were too old.

That same year, hearings of the House Government Operations and Oversight Committee revealed the shocking absence of data security at the U.S. Department of Education, putting at risk highly sensitive information of, for example, individuals and families applying for student loans. In other words, the proposition that the federal government should be entrusted with even more information on citizens is a bit of a high-stakes gamble.

The types of information contained by this sophisticated new national ID card would inevitably go well beyond the nuts and bolts needed to establish identity. Sammin argues that credit-reporting companies already have citizens’ data, but their trove is limited to financial information. What he and the scarier data-mongers contemplate is much more than this, including biometric information. The recently created Indian “Aadhaar” system, which he praises, includes fingerprints and iris scans.
Mandatory Programs Often Start as Voluntary

The Indian system is worth a second look. Aadhaar began as a voluntary program designed to reduce fraud in government benefits programs, but according to a BBC report, “it has become virtually impossible to do anything financial without it – such as opening a bank account or filing a tax return.” It’s almost certain that any “voluntary” program in the United States would undergo the same evolution, just as Social Security numbers have.

To obtain the biometric information for Aadhaar, the government sucked up all data taken from individuals during their contacts with government agencies—schools, hospitals, childcare centers, and special camps. Indians thus have no choice about whether government will store and use their most personal data. Despite the government’s assurances that the system is secure, doubts skyrocketed in March 2017 when cricket star MS Dhoni’s Aadhaar number appeared on Twitter. So not only has the new system already transitioned from voluntary to mandatory, it has already been breached in at least one high-profile case.

What if biometric and other data from a national ID card is lost, hacked, or stolen? The Electronic Frontier Foundation says loss, theft, or damage occurs with up to 5 percent of all national ID cards every year. You can always change your credit-card number, but you can’t change your fingerprints or your iris. So the system instituted to safeguard your identity would create an identity nightmare once criminals access people’s most sensitive data.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation warns, “National ID cards and the databases behind them comprise the cornerstone of government surveillance systems that creates risks to privacy and anonymity.” Worse, “[t]he requirement to produce identity cards on demand habituates citizens into participating in their own surveillance and social control.”

In addition to coercion and security breaches, a troubling aspect of a national identification system is “mission creep”—the temptation of government busybodies to use data they vacuum up for more than identification purposes. Consider the work of the U.S. Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking (CEP). This commission was created to examine how the federal government might combine and use the citizen data collected by various agencies (USED, the Internal Revenue Service, Health and Human Services, etc.) to assess government programs. Throughout a year of hearings, CEP considered testimony from many witnesses, mainly those advocating extensive disclosure of data among agencies and researchers and tracking citizens for life by connecting their employment data to their education data, all in the name of “transparency.”

The Appetite for Your Personal Information Is Enormous
A witness from a predictive-analytics company (Booz Allen Hamilton, the former employer of Edward Snowden), pushed a centralized database drawing from multiple federal sources: “[E]ligibility and participation tracked by the Social Security Administration – when combined with taxpayer data and tax subsidies from the IRS, survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and data from other agencies, such as HHS and HUD – could exponentially . . . enhance our potential to draw insights that could not have been derived before.”

Although CEP’s final report didn’t go that far, it did recommend increasing researcher and government agency access to every agency’s data. Such enthusiasm for even more data-swapping among agencies isn’t considered “fringe” in the world of data enthusiasts, such as the Gates Foundation-funded Data Quality Campaign. The question isn’t whether the data linked to the ID card will be expanded, but when.

What might the feds eventually do with this sensitive data? With Booz Allen-type algorithms, maybe bureaucrats can predict how individuals or groups might behave (“Minority Report,” anyone?). Or now that the government essentially controls health care, a citizen’s biometric data, perhaps including genetic information, could allow the government to manage his or her health-care or lifestyle choices. Mr. Chubby, we expect to see your ID card scanned at the gym three times a week.
Expanded non-biometric data is a problem as well. Your school records show a suspension for fighting in the eighth grade? Too risky to let you buy a gun 20 years later.

Data Is Power, and Concentrated Power Corrupts
Sammin recognizes these dangers, warning that “[t]he federal government should be careful not to take the idea too far” and shouldn’t use the national ID as an internal passport system. But who seriously believes the feds will respect their constitutional bounds? Ask any governor, any physician, any teacher. The innocent confidence that the monster can be controlled is inconsistent with all of history, and with common sense.

The innocent confidence that the monster can be controlled is inconsistent with all of history, and with common sense.
Trust in federal bureaucrats not to misuse data is also unwarranted. Examples abound: the FBI illegally discloses sensitive intelligence data on a “staggering” scale; IRS persecutors have transmitted a taxpayer’s confidential data to other agencies to ramp up harassment based on her political beliefs; a Social Security Administration employee illegally accesses confidential records as part of a fraud scheme. Men are not angels, and data they they can access about other people to should be strictly limited.

But the most fundamental objection to a national ID system is this: By what authority does any government require innocent citizens to turn over even their biometric information for its use? In a free society, “efficiency” and “ability to do cool things with it,” or even “it’s for their own good,” are not killer arguments. These arguments are those of a police state.

It may be that a national ID card could help with voter ID, or illegal immigration, or law enforcement (to what degree is debatable). But a free society must live with limits and tradeoffs. A free society recognizes that some lines are not to be crossed, some areas of human life not to be probed or recorded. As the Fourth Amendment says, the “right of people to be secure in their persons, papers and property, shall not be infringed.”

Americans have seen too much erosion of their privacy and autonomy. A national ID card is a bridge too far.

Jane Robbins is an attorney and a senior fellow with the American Principles Project in Washington DC. She is a graduate of Clemson University and the Harvard Law School.

12156 - Aadhaar Articles Dated 19th October 2017

The Hindu
Aadhaar-issuing body UIDAI on October 18 said the family of the 11-year-old Jharkhand girl who allegedly died of starvation had Aadhaar and ...

Economic Times
NEW DELHI: The government's Aadhaar-driven agenda is firing up demand for technology products and software services — giving a fillip to a market ...

Economic Times
NEW DELHI: Retirement fund manager EPFO has launched an online facility for its subscribers to link their 12-digit unique Aadhaar number with their ...

Re:locate Magazine
A unique idetifiacation number (Aadhaar) has been introduced in India is now compulsory for all Indian residents. Long term expatriates will be ...

In repeated orders since 2013, the Supreme Court has emphasised that the possession of an Aadhaar number cannot be made mandatory to avail of ...

Speaking in Washington on 12 October, Nandan Nilekani , the man behind Aadhar, said that “It has also saved the government about $9 billion in ...

India Today
If you fail to link your Aadhaar card with your mobile operator or with your Bank you may not get uninterrupted service till the time you link and update it ...

A total 2.41 lakh applications are still pending due to non-availability of Aadhaar," state Cooperation Minister Subhash Deshmukh told Firstpost.

The New Indian Express
The response indicates that the decision on mandatory linking of bank accounts with Aadhaar comes from the central government alone and not the ...

The EPFO has launched an online facility to let subscribers link their Universal Account Number (UAN) for Provident Fund (PF) to their Aadhaar. "This ...

Gizmodo India
Employers have started using Aadhaar to verify their potential employees. The re-verification of Aadhaar has made identity verification much simpler ...

A dangerous trend appears to have overtaken India. In a survey carried out by one of the world's most well-known US-based research institutes, Pew, ...

Gadgets Now (blog)
Launched by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the app lets users carry their Aadhaar identity on their smartphones. According to UIDAI ...

The Quint
Did three brothers from a Dalit family die of starvation in Karnataka's Gokarna because their local PDS shop refused to give them grain for not linking ...

Outlook India
An 11-year-old girl allegedly died of starvation in Jharkhand's Simdega District recently, as her family's ration card was not linked to the Aadhaar, the ...

Activists say Jharkhand minister's statement on Aadhaar use in ration shops misleading: Santoshi Kumari died on September 28 after her family was ...

Apart from this, data pertaining to the number of Aadhaar-seeded accounts was removed, while data on the number of accounts opened under the ...

Emphasising on the need to have Aadhaar number for each and every citizen of the area, he said Aadhaar has been made mandatory to avail every ...

The Hindu
Ram Rajya means no poverty, grief or discrimination, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister says as he asks critics not to see political designs behind his ...

The Federalist
Aadhaar began as a voluntary program designed to reduce fraud in government benefits programs, but according to a BBC report, “it has become ...

Biometric Update
In addition to its work in Latin America, the company is a major contributor to the world's largest biometrics-based ID program Aadhaar and has ...

Hindustan Times
Without Aadhaar and PAN card, a trader cannot buy products. Procuring items from branded companies requires registration with them for billing.

Outlook India
"If a picture is clicked to be used in Aadhaar Card, passport and other useful documentations it ok but for useless things such as to upload in social ...

Huffington Post India
... had been removed from the state's public distribution system because their Aadhaar cards were not linked to the new list issued by the government.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

12155 - Aadhaar Articles Dated 18th October 2017

Economic Times
Former Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishnamurthy today favoured doing away with voter ID card and said Aadhaar can be the sole identity proof ...

The Hindu
Even as he contended that online transactions were the future, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Tuesday that the Aadhaar system would ...

The child's family was refused subsidized food allegedly because their ration card had not been linked to their Aadhaar unique ID number following a ...

The Indian Express
Even as the govt is making efforts to make Aadhaar mandatory for schemes and services, experts say that it is necessary put in place safeguards such ...

The Hindu
In view of the gazette notification issued by the Ministry of Finance, Aadhaar has been made mandatory for opening all post office deposit accounts, ...

Recruitment process for companies is to become shorter as recruiters have started using Aadhaar to verify employees while hiring them. Presently, the ...

Biometric Update
Nandan Nilekani, the first chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), said that the Aadhaar Card system helped save India $9 ...

The Telegraph
New Delhi: The Supreme Court is likely to take up next week a PIL challenging the Centre's decision to make Aadhaar cards mandatory for mobile ...

After linking of UAN with Aadhaar or UID (Unique Identity Number) - the 12-digit identification number issued by the UIDAI (Unique Identification ...

Hindustan Times
Aadhaar has been facing a slew of legal challenges on the grounds that it breaches privacy. In August, the Supreme Court made privacy a ...

The Tribune
According to an official spokesperson, of the 42 Sampark centres in Chandigarh, till now, Aadhaar-related services were being offered in eight centres.

Financial Express
The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has launched free Aadhaar-based e-sign facility for employer's provident fund portal for signing ...

Times of India
KANPUR: "The day the Aadhaar numbers of all the voters would get linked with the voters list, it would become possible for conducting online polls in ...

The Shillong Times
SHILLONG: The Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Meghalaya Division has informed that good numbers of AADHAAR CARDs are lying ...

“The family was not receiving ration due to the government's mandate for Aadhaar seeding,” Dheeraj Kumar one of the activists involved in the ...

Financial Express
The Narendra Modi government has been pitching for making Aadhaar card an integral part of the digital ecosystem in the country that touches almost ...

Free Press Journal
Mumbai: At a time when PM Narendra Modi is enforcing people to the use of Aadhaar card and connect it to all services, his own office does not have ...

Gizmodo India
Transactions utilizing Aadhaar confirmation rose to almost 150 crore in September as compared to 100 crore in the earlier month. This huge spike in ...

Financial Express
Do you file ITR every year? Do you have an Aadhaar card? Do you possess PAN card? If the answers to these questions are yes, then this is one story ...

Times Now
RELATED TAGS. AadhaarJharkhand. COMMENTS. Please Enter Comment. Post Comment. No comments posted. NEXT STORY. LATEST STORIES.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

12154 - Jharkhand girl starving to death shows ‘Aadhaar savings’ built on gross exclusions - Daily O

The poor and vulnerable are dismissed as ‘ghosts’ and ‘frauds’ while authentication errors lead to many going hungry.

 |  5-minute read |   16-10-2017

India has not only slipped three points on the global hunger index, falling behind North Korea and Iraq, it has also started witnessing children being starved to death because their ration cards were not “linked to Aadhaar”. A report by the portal Scroll.in claims that an 11-year-old girl in Jharkhand went without food and died eventually because her family didn’t have Aadhaar-linked ration cards and they were denied food items by the Aadhaar-driven PDS.

This, despite PM Modi and his retinue of ministers and supporters going on and on about “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”.

That this denying of food and ration because the cards weren’t connected to Aadhaar is a gross violation of the Right to Life, Food Security Act and Aadhaar’s own “voluntary” nature by law, and the Supreme Court guidelines on the PDS-UID link, goes without saying. However, what’s even more tragic is that this could be foreseen by civil rights activists and commentators, reporting on the “Aadhaar exclusions” months in advance.

Santoshi Kumari, the 11-year-old girl who died of starvation, had gone without food for nearly eight days when she succumbed to it. Her family’s ration card was cancelled because it wasn’t linked to their Aadhaar number, while mid-day meals at her school weren’t available because of Durga Puja holidays, says the report. As a result, Santoshi Kumari hadn’t had a morsel of food for over a week, even though her family was eligible to avail food rations as per the Food Security Act, but was denied rations for six months because their card wasn’t Aadhaar-linked.

As the Centre is hell bent in linking Aadhaar to almost every service, public and private, in India, the gross violations of fundamental rights, and the resultant exclusions have been documented meticulously. In states like Jharkhand and Rajasthan, the poor have been left out of the Aadhaar-driven PDS because of “authentication failures”. Civil rights activists Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey have repeatedly drawn our attention to the hard facts on the ground – how the poor and the vulnerable are denied rations, work, services, skills training, even pregnancy care because they lack Aadhaar.

                      Photo: Press Trust of India

The policy framers riding Aadhaar mania treat the poor and marginalised as just 12-digit numbers of the UIDAI, and are least concerned when reports of unpardonable exclusions come forward. As the Jharkhand starvation death demonstrates, “deleting” those without Aadhaar from PDS lists is exactly how exclusions are presided over, with no concern towards the elderly, the infirm, those unwilling to get Aadhaar because of its several deficiencies. This, despite the individuals/families having ration cards/other identity proofs.

Welfare economist Jean Dreze has also been quoted in a number of reports on how “Point of sales” (PoS) machines installed at distribution outs are not able to authenticate the fingerprints of many, especially those daily wagers doing hard physical work and have calloused hands as a result. A large number of National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries are therefore left out of the welfare network, particularly in Jharkhand’s Ranchi district, because of Aadhaar. Dreze notes that the errors leading to exclusions occur at multiple points – the PoS machine, network connectivity, biometrics, remote servers, or mobile networks. 

Not just in states like Jharkhand, even in Delhi Aadhaar-based PDS has seen a rise in exclusions. Though the claims are often of cracking down hard on corruption as well as efficiency, the ground reality is one of huge disruptions in lives of poor and the vulnerable who are cut off mercilessly from availing the benefits they are legally entitled to.  

In fact, the government was criticised heavily when it decided to link essential welfare services/PDS/mid-day meals to Aadhaar, and letting children go hungry if they didn’t have UID. A DailyO columnist had written then: “In a country which has the highest number of malnourished children in the world, denying hungry kids the most important (and often the only) meal of the day because they do not have a particular identity card is not only shameful, it’s inhumane, and a recipe for humanitarian disaster.”
“Instead of prioritising children’s health, ensuring that they get nutrition benefits, improving the quality of the meals and implementing safeguards and rules for high quality food, the government is hell bent on taking away the meagre morsel that the children could get under the mid-day meal scheme as part of free schooling under Right to Education,” the article said.

                                 Photo: Reuters

The lack of empathy pointed out is at the heart of the Jharkhand starvation death of the 11-year-old Santoshi Kumari. However, those at the helm of Aadhaar, particularly Nandan Nilekani, have been boasting about “Aadhaar savings”, claiming about 9 billion US dollars have been “saved” because Aadhaar eliminated “frauds” and “ghosts” in the system.

In fact, a number of think-pieces and analytical reports have dissected the claims made by UIDAI, as well as the World Bank, which has been praising Aadhaar as an “efficient” welfare delivery programme, overlooking the gross negligence, the privacy breaches, the unpardonable exclusions as well as the Aadhaar frauds and commercial exploitation of Aadhaar-related data that have been amply reported by various media outlets.

Despite SC’s orders to the contrary, the Aadhaar juggernaut is on a rampage, trampling India’s poor, marginalised, elderly, the infirm and now the children. How will the UIDAI, which doesn’t even allow individuals and victims of Aadhaar to lodge complaints against it, or the government of Narendra Modi that’s imposing the Aadhaar condition on citizens’ right to life, liberty, food, education, privacy and other fundamental rights, defend itself against this unpardonable crime – starving a girl child to death?

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