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Archives for : AADHAAR

Stop #Aadhaar- What you can do

Sign Petition to Chief Justice of India

We the undersigned  request  Chief Justice of India  to stop the Government of India to continue committing contempt of court by implementing Aadhaar in each and every way , that it is doing inspite of Supreme Court’s order in the matter.  Aadhaar is  cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by the apex court one way or the other We request you to urgently hear the pending Aadhaar PILS

Draft letter you can send to your MP to request they take up amending Aadhaar Rules which are in parliament (drafted by Saurabh Bhatt)

Dear Sir/Madam,

Subject: Mandatory Use of UID-Aadhaar in Violation of Orders of the Supreme Court and Lacunae

in Aadhaar (Enrolment and Update) Regulations, 2016

We write to about the Aadhaar (Enrolment and Update) Regulations, 2016 [hereinafter, Aadhaar

Regulations] that have currently been laid before each House of Parliament in pursuance of Section 55

of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016

(hereinafter the Aadhaar Act), and seek to draw your attention to the lack of substantive and procedural

safeguards against exclusion of citizens through the use of Aadhaar.

At the outset, we express our profound sense of alarm at the manner in which Aadhaar has been made

mandatory, in clear disregard of Orders of the Supreme Court, for access to various entitlements,

subsidies, services, legal compliance, etc. We are constrained to point out that the Supreme Court has

repeatedly emphasised that the Aadhaar number “is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory

till the matter is finally decided by the Court one way or the other“. It must also be noted that the

Supreme Court has, through its order dated 14-09-2016, persisted with the prohibition on the

mandatory use of Aadhaar even after the passage of the Aadhaar Act. As such, insistence of mandatory

submission of Aadhaar Number for an ever-expanding list of services and activities constitutes an

unconscionable breach of the rule of law as well as contempt of the Supreme Court of India.

Even as such mandatory use of Aadhaar constitutes a violation of Supreme Court order, it also reinforces

the need for a robust, accessible, and accountable procedural mechanism for preventing misuse of

Aadhaar number and protecting citizens from denial of services due to linkage with Aadhaar. However,

the procedures envisaged by the Aadhaar Regulations fail to conform to elementary principle of fairness,

access and natural justices that have been recognized as integral part of Art. 14 of the Constitution. We

draw your attention to the following aspects in particular:

Deactivation without pre-decisional hearing

Regulations 29 to 32 of the Aadhaar Regulations provide for deactivation of Aadhaar number. In view

of the linkage between Aadhaar number and basic services, including basic services recognised as part

of the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution, strict procedures with rigorous safeguard

constitute an imperative. Yet, Regulation 29 fails to provide for pre-decisional hearing to the number-
holder as a compulsory requirement. The Regulation uses the phrase “deactivation may require field

inquiry”, suggesting that UIDAI has the discretion to dispense with an inquiry.

Further, clause (2) of the Regulation suggests that UIDAI may ask another agency to carry out the inquiry

and submit a report. The regulation however makes no mention of the selection process of this agency,

the qualifications of the persons carrying out such inquiry or the procedure the agency must follow.

Another cause of concern is that clause (3) of Regulation also fails to provide any guidance on the

officers within the UIDAI that would be authorised to carry out such deactivation or what procedure

they would follow prior to deactivating the Aadhaar number.

Inadequacy of Grievance Redressal

Regulation 30 of the Aadhaar Regulations require an aggrieved number-holder to pursue a complaint

through the “grievance redressal mechanism” set up under Regulation 32. Regulation 32 states that the

UIDAI “shall set up a contact centre to act as a central point of contact for resolution of queries and

grievances of residents, accessible to residents through toll free number(s) and/ or e-mail.”

However, the Regulations contain no indication about the powers of the contact centre or the

procedures it shall follow. In view of the critical impact of any deactivation of Aadhaar number and

consequent denial of services, grievance redressal mechanism must be prompt, effective and accessible.

But in the absence of both substantive and procedural norms, the mechanism envisaged under

Regulation 32 is in danger of being nothing more than a charade.

Further, the mechanism also fails the principle of access given its reliance on phones and emails. Such

a mechanism would serve to exclude those without phones or internets who even at this moment,

constitute a sizable section of our citizenry. Admittedly, clause (3) of Regulation 32 allows residents to

“raise grievances by visiting the regional offices of the Authority or through any other officers or

channels as may be specified by the Authority.” But with regional offices currently existing in mere 8

states, this option may also prove to be an illusory rope.

Levying and collecting Fees

The Aadhar (Enrolment and Update) (First Amendment) Regulations 2017 have authorised Registrars,

Enrolling Agencies and other Service Providers to collect a fee from the residents for the services

provided by them. Imposition of fees would constitute a dual burden on citizens and residents. Not only

are people being compelled to sign up for Aadhaar, they shall also be charged a fee for such enrolment.

Indeed, it seems a cruel joke being played at the cost of people of India.

In view of these lacunae, we believe that Aadhaar Regulations fail to act as a strong bulwark against

exclusion of people due to linkage of Aadhaar and other services. Therefore, we write to you and call

upon you to exercise your responsibility as Members of Parliament and request you to endeavour to

modify or annul the Aadhaar Regulations under Section 55 of the Aadhaar Act before the Regulations

become final.

Thanking you

Yours sincerely,


Serve contempt notice if forced to give aadhaar (drafted by Anupam Saraph)

Please ask others who face the same scene as you to complain. Do please tweet your complaints with #UIDContempt.
Here is a draft notice of contempt along with copies of the relevant orders of the Supreme Court that should be served to each agency in contempt of the orders of the Supreme Court after editing as required.
Name/Address of concerned authority that is forcing for an Aadhaar number
Dear Sir/Madam,
Subject: Contempt of Rule of Law and the orders of the Supreme Court of India
We are shocked that you have been continuing to require and use the UID number and associated data for purposes beyond that approved by the Supreme Court of India. We are also disturbed that you are mandating the requirement of the UID number. This is an unbelievable disrespect of the rule of law and of the repeated orders of the Supreme Court of India. 
Your actions have also resulted in coercing children, elderly and others alike to have to register for an UID number against their free will. Your actions also constitute an illegal functional creep that cannot be morally or legally justified. Your actions reek of creating a fait accompli before the court finally decides on the matter and hence does not uphold the promise of justice, liberty, equality or fraternity.
We draw your attention to the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s orders of 11 August 2015 restricting the use of Aadhaar to PDS Scheme, for the distribution of foodgrains, and cooking fuel, such as kerosene and LPG. This was extended to allow its use for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), National Social Assistance Programme (Old Age Pensions, Widow Pensions, Disability Pensions) Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) in its orders of 15 October 2015. The Court also stated that the information about an individual obtained by the Unique Identification Authority of India while issuing an Aadhaar card shall not be used for any other purpose. The use of the UID number/ Aadhaar or information associated with it for any purposes other than that allowed by the court as well as it being mandated for any purposes not allowed by the court is a contempt of the rule of law and the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. 
We also draw your attention to the orders of 15 October 2015 where the Court reiterated that the UID number/Aadhaar card Scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory for the permitted uses till the matter is finally decided by this Court one way or the other. 
We require that you immediately cease to require the UID number as your usage does not fall into the allowed uses of the UID/ We require you to end the mandatory requirement for the UID number and make the procedures for those with or without the UID number identical.
We trust you will share your compliance of the orders within 7 days, publish widely your decision to abide by the orders of the Supreme Court and not cause us to seek other remedies and relief for your failure to respect the rule of law. 
Sincerely yours,
1. Shri Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, 152, South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi-110011
3. President of India, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi – 110 004 email: [email protected] 
4. Chief Justice of India, ℅ Chief Justice’s Conference Secretariat, Supreme Court of India, Tilak Marg, New Delhi-110 201



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Are you being forced to have #Aadhaar #UID ? – Complain SC








Aadhaar (alias UID – unique identity number), is not to be made mandatory for any government service according to repeated Supreme Court orders in September 2013, March 2014 and the latest on 16th March 2015. Recently in the apex court, the judge further reprimanded the central government, “It is your duty to ensure our orders are followed. You can’t say states are not following our order.”

If there are cases of anyone being denied an entitlement or government service because they don’t have aadhaar, please send a letter to the Supreme Court at their official postal address, fax
The Registrar,
Supreme Court of India,
Tilak Marg,
New Delhi-110 201 (India)
PABX NOS.23388922-24,23388942-44,
FAX NOS.23381508,23381584,23384336/23384533/23384447
At the head of the message, it would be wise to mention, “For the kind attention of Hon’ble Mr Justice Chelameswar and companion judges hearing the matter regarding Aadhaar, in the matter of Aruna Roy v. Union of India Writ Petition (Civil) No. 833 of 2013″.
 I will request all of you to also write  complaints in the comments section of the blog post to keep a record of the complaints 
you can also end your complaint to me at- PLEASE DO SEND COPY OF YOUR COMPLAINTS [email protected], after you  send your complaint to Supreme Court
you can also post on FB GROUP – SAY NO TO UID

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Not just Aadhaar: your privacy is under threat from all kinds of players #UID

Not just Aadhaar: your privacy is under threat from all kinds of players


The privacy of India’s citizens is under threat, thanks to a weak state. By weak state one means the absence of a strong basis in law for most of the acts allegedly carried out on behalf of the state. A strong state is one where every action of the state or its representatives is grounded in law, which itself is intended to protect the citizens from arbitrary official action.

India is a weak state as it enables powerful people manning various state or private institutions to use gaps in the law to impose mindless new costs and regulations on citizens without commensurate benefits.

Thanks to the absence of a law on privacy, and weak implementation of whatever law that exists, the Indian citizen has now been left vulnerable to fraud, blackmail and other forms of harassment by state or non-state actors. And no one can actually help you if you are a victim of one.

Consider the amount of data now being collected from private citizens either without the authority of law, or by agencies that supposedly act within the law, but which cannot mandate protection of your information or data.

The Unique Identification Authority of India collected biometric and other data from over 600 million Indian residents without any law mandating the safekeeping of your private data. Now that the Modi government has made peace with UIDAI’s Aadhaar and plans to use it for its own schemes, one wonders how it can do so without legislating a law to protect this data from misuse. When private parties collect my biometric data, what is the guarantee this won’t remain in private hands, and lend itself for misuse?

Every bank, every mutual fund and every financial institution with whom citizens have dealings demands a lot of financial and other details from citizens: father’s name, mother’s name, mother’s maiden name, date of birth, account details, annual income. Today’s Mint newspaper (dated 28 July) discusses how mutual funds are seeking details of income and from 1 August you cannot buy a mutual fund without giving these details in a second form.

As of now, you can still fib about your income, but what if tomorrow they demand salary slips and more details? All this is possible because market regulator Sebi is expected to play a policing role on behalf of the taxman. Mutual funds are supposed to report suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit – which means spying on you by demanding income statements. What if this information, now lying unprotected with mutual funds, lands up with the local gangster who can now kidnap kids and demand ransom, secure in the knowledge of how much he can demand from whom?

Even mobile companies now demand bank statements as address proof. So copies of your bank statements showing incomes and salary inflows are now with mobile and phone companies. The data itself is collected by direct selling agents or staff who keep moving in and out of companies for marginal increases in pay. Who will protect our financial data given to mobile phone companies? What if the info leaks? Who is accountable?

Of course, we are not only talking about data demanded officially, but also private players. From Google to Flipkart to every transaction site, a lot of your personal data is now with private agencies who now know all your financial details, the passwords you tend to use, the things you are interested in, etc. If this data leaks out or is misused, every transaction of yours can be compromised.

The sheer amount of personal information – especially financial information – collected by all kinds of unaccountable agencies and private parties is now so staggering that no citizen can feel safe about sharing information that is demanded almost at every street corner. Even shops and cable operators now demand to know you PAN number – the former if your purchases exceed a certain level, the latter routinely.

The problem with India’s state agencies and regulators is that they collect loads of data without knowing what they will use it for, and how it will be protected.

The Radia tapes affair showed how even information legitimately collected can leak into the public domain and make waves. This clearly shows that before we impose any more rules on the kind of data we need  to collect (for tax purposes, KYC, payment of subsidies, etc) we must legislate a powerful privacy protection law.

The law must cover the following aspects.

One, it must clearly emphasise that the data given under any law or rule is the property of the private citizen and it can be used only for the specified purpose by the agency collecting it. If a bank statement is given to a mobile company, the info is only for the purpose of ascertaining the address, and not for anything else. If a mutual fund collects income statements, it is only meant for checking for any inconsistency in investments and income show. The data again cannot be shared with any outside party.

Two, breaches of privacy must carry heavy penalties. Leaks of any data should not only incur fines, but for more serious breaches, it must lead to prosecution and jailing of the officials concerned.

Three, all agencies – public or private – collecting data from the public must be forced to follow internal processes that specifically protect the data. Just as government departments have information officers to give out information sought through RTIs, there must be designated privacy protection officers who will be accountable for data leaks.

Four, institutions using private parties and direct selling agents (DSAs) to collect data will be liable for any lapses on the parts of their agents. Use of private agents cannot absolve the principal of liability if things go wrong. In the case of the UIDAI, all biometric and other data already collected must be fully protected. This means UIDAI must go back to their data collecting agencies and ensure that any data still left in private hands is either destroyed, or accounted for with full past and future liability.

The point of all this is simple: in these days of phishing and other kinds of internet frauds, the availability of so much unprotected data offers crooks and scamsters lots of options to hack into citizens’ accounts and make a killing. Moreover, financial data in the wrong hands can lead to blackmail, extortion and other forms of demands.

Just consider: when everything from date of birth to mother’s maiden names to salary info is available easily, wouldn’t hacking of accounts become easy with minor efforts?

Also, if all future payments under NREGA, etc, are made through payment banks or other mass disbursal agencies, would it be very difficult to skim 99 paise from every account without the poor account-holder guessing what is happening to her in village Rampur? A million accounts skimmed and shown as miscellaneous bank charges is unlikely to be questioned by any party – and that is a million bucks to somebody on the basis of skimming just under Re 1 from millions of account.

The government has to start taking the privacy issue seriously. The UPA never did. Will Modi’s government be different?


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Arun Jaitley – My Call Detail Records and A Citizen’s Right to Privacy #Aadhaar #Uid


By  Arun Jaitley

In the past few months I have been closely monitoring a series of news reports which deal with surveillance of my mobile phones. An effort has been made to get access to my call detail records. On two occasions senior officers of the Delhi Police have met me to keep me informed of the progress of the case.

The Facts

On three occasions the Delhi Police has officially asked for the call detail records of the mobile phone which I regularly use. These details have been asked for by the South District, the Central District and the Crime Branch of Delhi Police. The reason for officially seeking the call detail records are both curious and ridiculous. On two occasions for two different periods the Call Detail Records were sought ostensibly on the ground that they were required for a verification in relation to the crime of multiple murders which had been committed in a farmhouse in Delhi. On the third occasion a Head Constable of Delhi Police sought the details and successfully obtained them on the ground that he was returning from the Saket Courts, an anonymous source advised him to check up the call detail records of my telephone number since the same may provide some evidence in relation to a fake currency racket. Obviously, both the pretexts were palpably false. Even for the wildest of imagination there would not be any evidence available in my phone details in relation to these offences. I hardly have any familiarity with the persons involved in these crimes or in relation to the subject matter of the offence.

In another incident the Delhi Police unearthed an effort to a constable of the Police acting at the behest of a private detective agency to get the Call Detail Records of some of the phones which are used by persons around me. Two phones in my name are used by two drivers whom I alternatively use and the third one is used by my son. When I am in my car or at a meeting, I do receive calls on my driver’s numbers. The Delhi Police claims that this attempt was foiled by a vigilant employee of the Service Provider who suspected foul play in these transactions.

The details of these calls being observed through official and illegal channels were for the periods November-December,2012 and January 2013. It was junior officers of the police including the officials at the level of Head Constable and Constables who could get access to these Call Detail Records.

It is obvious that somebody during this period was desperately trying to look for some evidence in my call details. The combined effort has covered the phones which I regularly use and some phones of persons who accompany me which I may incidentally use. Regrettably the Delhi Police believes that each of these efforts are unconnected and there is no pattern in the fact that an attempt was being made both successfully and unsuccessfully to monitor the persons with whom I am in touch with during the critical period. I find it difficult to accept this explanation of the Delhi Police that it is unable to find out the master-mind behind this operation and it is merely co-incidental that so many activities were taking place at the same time to get at my Call details.

The Delhi Police would have me believe that these were unconnected developments. The inability of the Delhi Police to find out the master-mind behind this operation does not mean that there is no master-mind. Either the investigation is extremely incompetent to discover the identity of the master-mind or the Delhi Police finds it embarrassing to name the master-mind. My guess is still wide open. This could be an out-sourced operation to a Government agency or a private rogue operation.

The Effect

My object in raising this issue is not to play a victimhood card. I raise this issue because some larger questions of public interest are involved.

Firstly, every citizen in India has a right to privacy. His right to pirivacy is an inherent aspect of his personal liberty. Interference in the right to privacy is an interference in his personal liberty by a process which is not fair, just or reasonable. A person’s Call Detail Records can throw up details of several transactions. In the case of an average citizen it can reflect on his relationships. In the case of a professional or a business person it can reflect on his financial transactions. In the case of a journalist it can reveal the identity of his sources. In the case of a politician it can reveal the identity of the person with whom he has regular access. Every person has ‘a right to be left alone’. In a liberal society there is no place for those who peep into the private affairs of individuals. No one has a right to know who another communicates with him. The nature of communication, the identity of persons being communicated with and frequency of communications would be a serious breach of privacy. If Constables and Head Constables of police officially (even though on false pretexts ) or unofficially can get access to Call Detail Records of an individual (in this case Leader of Opposition in one of the Houses of Parliament) the personal liberty of an individual would be in peril.

In the case of a Member of Parliament, this raises an additional issue. A Member of Parliament like a media person receives information from various sources. It is in public interest that the identity of the sources is to be concealed. Most scams are exposed by insiders. If identity of sources are revealed there is a danger of the sources drying up and public interest suffering. A Member of Parliament has several undefined privileges. Nobody has a right to know who communicates with him. If those who communicate with him are exposed nobody would be willing to provide information to a Member of Parliament. This will be detrimental to public interest. If the privileged phone records of the Leader of Opposition can be accessed so easily, one shudders to think as to what would happen to an ordinary citizen.

This incident throws up another legitimate fear. We are now entering the era of the Adhaar number. The Government has recently made the existence of the Adhaar number as a condition precedent for undertaking several activities; from registering marriages to execution of property documents. Will those who encroach upon the affairs of others be able to get access to bank accounts and other important details by breaking into the system? If this ever becomes possible the consequences would be far messier.
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Supreme Court Must Immediately Declare Aadhaar As Unconstitutional #UID



Praveen Dalal

Any Government holds the Public Resources in a “Fiduciary Capacity” as a Trustee for the future generation. This is the gist of the Public Trust Doctrine that is frequently applied by Courts around the World while dealing with Environment and natural resources related issues. Can this Doctrine be applied to “Public Money”? I believe it should be made applicable to the hard earned Public Money as well that is given to our Government in the form of various Taxes.

Can Politicians misappropriate Public Money through corrupt means and deposit the same in foreign banks out of the reach of Indian Government? Can Indian Capital be kept out of the reach of Indian Government so that it is not used for Development and Reforms in India? Can Indian Government spend enormous financial resources upon Projects that have no Parliamentary Oversight and are actually violating the protections conferred by the Indian Constitutions?

We all know that the answers to these questions cannot be anything except No. Still all of these Evils and Corrupt Practices are happening in India. When the latest BJP led Government was formed, the Supreme Court of India directed it to Constitute and Notify a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe Black Money deposited in Foreign Jurisdictions. The same we promptly done by the Narendra Modi led Government and I really appreciate this “Alacrity and Commitment” of Modi. Now the SIT has been constituted and it has already started functioning.

On the one hand India has recovered $310 million from Finmeccanica helicopter deal while on the other hand a sum of Rs 2,039 crore has been granted in the budget for the Aadhaar Project. India terminated the helicopter deal in January 2014 citing a breach of integrity after allegations of bribery emerged in Italy against executives at Finmeccanica’s helicopter unit. Surprisingly, the Modi Government did not find anything wrong with the Aadhaar Project that has already consumed thousand of Crore of hard earned Public Money without any Parliamentary Oversight, Transparency, and Accountability.

Those who have wasted Crore of hard earned Public Money upon the Illegal and Unconstitutional Aadhaar project must be made answerable to Indian Courts as soon as possible instead of granting further funds to the Aadhaar. This is giving a “Negative Signal” that “Constitutional Norms” are just Paper Words and the Powerful are simply beyond the reach of “Rule of Law”. This is also giving an indication that Politicians are beyond the Scrutiny and Reach of Indian Courts. This is a “Dangerous Trend” that has to be stopped immediately by the Supreme Court of India.

The only solaced for the Modi Government is a promise to formulate Legal Framework for the Aadhaar Project. However, this promise must not face the similar fate as witnessed during the Congress led Government. Even if the Modi Government succeeds in formulating a Law for Aadhaar Project, the same must be Just, Fair and Reasonable. It should not be of the type suggested by the Congress Government as that would not pass the “Test of Constitutionally” before the Supreme Court of India.

The Aadhaar Project is suffering from many “Vices and Illegalities”. These include Civil Liberties ViolationsUnconstitutional E-Surveillance IssuesData security and Cyber Security Issues, Compulsory Nature of Aadhaar, Unaccountable Intelligence Agencies,Foreign E-Surveillance ThreatsTelecom Security IssuesIntegration with Surveillance projects like NATGRIDUnconstitutional Biometrics Collections, etc. All these aspects make the Aadhaar Project an Unconstitutional Project that was required to be Scrappedby the Modi Government.

The Illegality of Aadhaar Project has already been Challenged before the Indian Courts. The Supreme Court of India has even held that the Aadhaar Number/Card cannot be made Compulsory for availing Public Services in India. The Supreme Court has alsoprohibited UIDAI from sharing Biometric Data with Indian Government Agencies without Data Owner’s Consent. This may have prompted the Modi Government to suggest Legislation for Aadhaar.

Among all this Chaos and Illegalities one this is very clear. The current allocation of Public Funds to Aadhaar Project by the Modi Government has been done at a time when there is neither a Parliamentary Oversight nor any Techno Legal Measures to protect Civil Liberties of Indians. Of course, this is a mere allocation at this time and it would be a totally different story if no fund is utilised till the “Constitutional Roadblocks” are removed by the Modi Government. Till that time the funds must be kept intact.

As per media reports, the UIDAI is planning to spend precious 30 Crore of hard earned Public Money on “Convincing Indians” that Aadhaar is a “Welfare Scheme Project”. This is absurd to even suggest much less accepted as Aadhaar has no “Welfare Elements” attached to it whatsoever. From its present form one can easily deduce that Aadhaar Project is a Draconian E-Surveillance Project that has been launched along with other E-Surveillance Projects like Central Monitoring System (CMS), Internet Spy System Network and Traffic Analysis System (NETRA), etc. The fact is that Indian Government, Aadhaar Project and UIDAI are hiding truth from Indians.

Obviously, the Modi Government would approach the Supreme Court of India to make the Aadhaar Number/Card Compulsory for availing Government Services in India. The scenario has already changed in India as Government Departments are insisting upon use of Aadhaar as the “Exclusive Identity” for availing various Schemes and Services from them. They are making Aadhaar Mandatory despite the “Clear Directions” of Supreme Court. This is not only violation of various statutory provisions but is also a “Contempt of Court” as the Supreme Court’s order is binding upon all Government Authorities.

No Government Agency, Authority or Department can dare to flout Supreme Court’s order unless it has backing of Indian Government either directly or indirectly. If Government Departments and Authorities are insisting upon Aadhaar despite Supreme Court orders and the Indian Government is not taking any “Strict Action” against such Government Departments and Authorities, this is a clear indication that the Modi Government is not interested in following the orders of Indian Supreme Court regarding Aadhaar Project.

It is high time for Indian Supreme Court to declare the Aadhaar Project Unconstitutional and scrap the same till it is in conformity with “Constitutional Norms”. It is equally imperative for the Modi Government to not waste even a single Rupee upon Aadhaar till it is clear of various “Infirmities and Illegalities”.


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#India – Infringing Privacy for the Other 5 Billion #Aadhaar #UID

An Indian villager looks at an Iris scan

Move over, mobile phones. There’s a new technological fix for poverty: biometric identification. Speaking at the World Bank on April 24, Nandan Nilekani, director of India’s universal identification scheme, promised that the project will be “transformational.” It “uses the most sophisticated technology … to solve the most basic of development challenges.” The massive ambition, known as Aadhaar, aims to capture fingerprints, photographs, and iris scans of 1.2 billion residents, with the assumption that a national identification program will be a key ingredient to “empower poor and underprivileged residents.” The World Bank’s president, Jim Yong Kim, effusively summed up the promise as “just stunning.”

Although few can match Nilekani’s grand scale, Aadhaar is but one example of the development sector’s growing fascination with technologies for registering, identifying, and monitoring citizens. Systems that would be controversial—if not outright rejected—in the West because of the threat they pose to civil liberties are being implemented in many developing countries, often with the support of Western donors. The twin goals of development and security are being used to justify a bewildering array of initiatives, including British-funded biometric voting technology in Sierra Leone, U.N. surveillance drones in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and biometric border controls in Ghana supported by the World Bank.

This vigorous adoption of technologies for collecting, processing, tracking, profiling, and managing personal data—in short, surveillance technologies—risks centralizing an increasing amount of power in the hands of government authorities, often in places where democratic safeguards and civil society watchdogs are limited. While these initiatives may be justified in certain cases, rarely are they subject to a rigorous assessment of their effects on civil liberties or political dissent. On the contrary, they often seek to exploit the lack of scrutiny: Nilekani recommended in another recent speech that biometric proponents work “quickly and quietly” before opposition can form. The sensitivity of the information gathered in aid programs is not lost on intelligence agencies: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mark Mazzetti recently revealed that the Pentagon funded a food aid program in Somalia for the express purpose of gathering details on the local population. Even legitimate aid programs now maintain massive databases of personal information, from household names and locations to biometric information.

Humanitarian organizations, development funders, and governments have a responsibility to critically assess these new forms of surveillance, consult widely, and implement safeguards such as data protection, judicial oversight, and the highest levels of security. In much of the world, these sorts of precautions are sorely lacking: For example, despite the success of information technology in Africa, only 10 countries on the continent have some form of data protection law on the books (and even those rarely have the capacity or will to enforce them).

Kenya is a good example of how these programs can go wrong. In the country’s recent election, a costly biometric voting scheme flopped, adding widespread uncertainty to an already fragile situation. The problems were manifold, from biometric scanners that couldn’t recognize thumbprints to batteries that failed and servers that crashed. As journalist Michela Wrong put it, “almost none of it worked.” With limited resources, why support expensive and often ineffective technologies like biometric voting when traditional systems often suffice? While biometrics could help clean up electoral rolls, they may very well serve to obfuscate the electoral process, as information is passed through proprietary applications and technologies, closed to public scrutiny and audit.

But the worries in Kenya extend beyond technological failure. Like many low-income countries, Kenya has historically lacked a robust program of birth registration, making public health work notoriously difficult. It also stymies the provision of education services and cash transfers to vulnerable populations. To rectify this, the Kenyan state has sought to enroll all adults in a biometric national identification scheme that aims to interoperate with various other databases, including the tax authority, financial institutions, and social security programs. According to the director of this Integrated Population Registration System, George Anyango, the government now has “the 360 degree view of any citizen above the age of 18 years.” The Orwellian language is particularly worrisome given Kenya’s lack of data protection requirements and history of political factionalism, including the ethnic violence in the aftermath of the 2007 election that resulted in the death of more than 1,000 Kenyans.

The Aadhaar project in India—a country with a history of ethnic unrest and social segregation, widespread political and bureaucratic corruption, and with no effective legislative protection of privacy—should raise similar, magnified fears. Furthermore, it’s doubtful the program could help bring about the social equality it promises. Proponents of these state registration schemes argue that a lack of ID is a key reason why the poor remain marginalized, but they risk misdiagnosing the symptom for the cause. The poor are marginalized not simply because they lack an ID, but rather because of a complex history of discriminatory political, economic, and social structures. In some cases a biometric identity scheme may alter those, but only if coupled with broader, more difficult reforms.

One of Aadhaar’s biggest promises is the opportunity to open bank accounts (which require identification). Yet, poor, marginalized Indians, even with an ID, find formal banks to be unfriendly and difficult to join. For example, the anthropologist Ursula Rao found that the homeless in India—even after registering for Aadhaar—were blocked from banking, most frequently for lack of proper addresses, but more fundamentally because, as she notes, biometric identification “cannot establish trust, teach the logic of banking, or provide incentives for investing in the formal economy.” Bank managers remain suspicious and exclusionary, even if an identity project is inclusive. Without broader reforms—including rules for who may or may not access identity details—novel identification infrastructures will become tools of age-old discrimination.

Another, more practical drawback is that biometric technology is particularly ill-suited for individuals who have spent years in manual labor, working in tough conditions where their fingerprints wear down or they may even lose full fingers or limbs. Even with small authentication error rates—say, the 1.7 percent that recent estimates from Aadhaar suggest—the number of failures in a population the size of India’s can be enormous. Aadhaar has already enrolled 240 million people, with plans to reach all residents. You do the math.

The growth of these systems is due in part to the lack of public education and consultation, as well as the paucity of technical expertise to advise on the risks and pitfalls of surveillance technologies. But certainly the international donors and humanitarian organizations that support these initiatives have a responsibility to critically assess and build in safeguards for these technologies. Given the enormity of the challenge facing these organizations, it is perhaps easy not to prioritize issues like privacy and security of personal data, but the same arguments were once made against gender considerations and environmental protections in development. Aid programs that involve databases of personal information—especially of those most vulnerable and marginalized—must adopt stringent policies and practices relating to the collection, use, and sharing of that data. Best practices should include privacy impact assessments and consider the scope for “privacy by design” methodologies.

As the rhetoric around Aadhaar makes clear, the promise of a quick technical solution to intractable social problems is alive and well. However, it is time to recognize that human development involves the protection of civil liberties and individual freedoms, and not blindly rush into the creation of surveillance states in the name of development and poverty alleviation. Donors and aid organizations need to remember that the other 5 billion deserve privacy, too.

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How Rajnath Singh is wrong about Biometric NPR and the Prime Minister is right #UID

Opposed by Narendra Modi, Biometric National Population Register (NPR) is aadhaar by another name


How Rajnath Singh is wrong about Biometric NPR and the Prime Minister is right 


No lessons being learnt from misuse of electoral database and census data by Big Data companies

 By-  Gopal Krishna

In a letter written to Minister of Home Affairs (MHA), Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) has submitted that Shri Narendra Modi had opposed biometric National Population Register (NPR) in his letter to Dr Manmohan Singh on October 6, 2011. It has argued that MHA’s support for 12 digit biometric aadhaar number generating NPR makes Indians worse than prisoners, violates Citizenship Act, Census Act and constitutional rights.


Isn’t there a compelling reason for MHA, RGI and all the concerned ministers and officials in the government to read the letter of Shri Narendra Modi to understand why he had opposed biometric NPR not? How can MHA deprive itself of the wisdom of Shri Modi without facing any consequence? If this government does not reconcile its actions in the light of Shri Modi’s letter, it will tantamount to breach of citizens’ trust. It will set a dangerous and unhealthy precedent and in future no one will believe even the written words of political leaders.


The MHA’s must explain as how is India’s NPR for identity cards different from Identity Cards that has been abandoned in UK. There is a need to guard against ID Card cartels and learn from the fate of such databases in Egypt, Pakistan and Greece. It must set up a committee to examine why countries like China, Australia and France abandoned such ID projects.


CFCL had appeared before t he Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Finance that examined the National Identification Authority of India Bill to legalize and legitimize aadhaar scheme. The PSC endorsed the concerns about national security and citizens rights and questioned and trashed the scheme.


The parliamentary committee had categorically raised question about the absence of legal mandate for biometric data collection. The parliamentary committee’s report observes, “The collection of biometric information and its linkage with personal information of individuals without amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955 as well as the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, appears to be beyond the scope of subordinate legislation, which needs to be examined in detail by Parliament.”


Notably, the PSC’s report revealed that “Bharatiya – Automated Finger Print Identification System (AFSI), was launched in January, 2009, being funded by the Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, for collection of biometric information of the people of the country.” But admittedly the same is not being used by UIDAI because according to the Government, “The quality, nature and manner of collection of biometric data by other biometric projects may not be of the nature that can be used for the purpose of the aadhaar scheme and hence it may not be possible to use the fingerprints captured under the Bhartiya-AFSI project.” It is bizarre as why the parliamentary committee did not question AFSI program of Ministry of Communications and Information Technology headed by A Raja. How can this program be allowed to continue without “amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955”?


Despite such observation of the parliamentary committee, MHA’s support for NPR is quite inexcusable.


Besides the Ministry of Planning in their written reply stated, “UIDAI is adopting a multiple registrar approach and the Registrar General of India (RGI) will be one of the Registrars of the UIDAI. To synergize the two exercises, an Inter Ministerial Coordination Committee has been set up to minimize duplication. The UIDAI is making all efforts to synergize with National Population Register (NPR) exercise.” This recorded reply illustrates that NDA government’s proposal for NPR and UPA government’s aadhaar is simply the same rose with different names.


It is quite clear from the conceptual design that aadhaar and NPR is one and the same. This feigned ignorance seems to demonstrate the collusion between BJP and Congress on biometrically profiling Indians.  Admittedly, biometric data is a property. It is not surprising that property dealers of all shapes and shades are visible on the horizon.


The examination of the terms of reference of UIDAI reveals it all. The entire political class and citizenry was taken for a ride regarding a so called turf war between the Ministry of Home Affairs and UIDAI which media was made to understand that got resolved by diving the Indian population in two parts of 60 crore for coverage under aadhaar and the rest under National Population Register (NPR) which also generates Aadhaar number. The fact is the terms of reference of the UIDAI mandated it “take necessary steps to ensure collation of National Population Register (NPR) with UID (as per approved strategy)”, to “identify new partner/user agencies”, to “issue necessary instructions to agencies that undertake creation of databases… (to) enable collation and correlation with UID and its partner databases” and UIDAI “shall own and operate the database”. The executive notification dated January 28, 2009 that set up UIDAI mentions this. The entire exercise has been staged to hoodwink unsuspecting Indians.


If there was still any doubt about the oneness of NPR and aadhaar, the report of Press Trust of India of January 30, 2014 revealed the proposal of the Planning Commission to allow UIDAI to start enrolments in areas other than 18 states and Union Territories allocated to it. The Commission’s proposal is based on the view that this is required to speed up collection of biometrics details of residents and for issuing them Aadhaar numbers as well as a National Multi-purpose Identity Cards (NMIC) based on NPR. It was reported, “The Commission discussed the proposal with Registrar General of India (RGI) under the Ministry of Home Affairs. They have agreed that UIDAI can be allowed to enrol in some states where they are collecting biometrics details of resident, to speed up enrolments.”

It may be noted that the states and union territories where RGI is enrolling residents and collecting their biometrics details under NPR are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadar and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep. Notably, RGI is also enrolling residents in Udupi, Gadag, Uttara Kannada, Haveri, Davangere, Bangalore rural, Chikkabalapur and Kodagu districts of Karnataka. So far 14 crore Indians have been enrolled under NPR.


UIDAI has been enrolling residents in Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Tripura. It claims that so far it has enrolled 63 crore Indians.


Both NPR and aadhaar are online databases by design.  

Now that it has been established that surveillance agencies of USA, UK and their allies have dismantled firewalls created for online privacy and encrypted Internet communications, the new government must dismantle the illegitimate biometric database to undo the damage to done to Indians by the previous government.


In its letter CFCL said, “even as the surveillance infrastructure that was bulldozed by the previous  government unfolded in India, UK’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said in a speech in British House of Commons said, “This government will end the culture of spying on its citizens. It is outrageous that decent, law-abiding people are regularly treated as if they have something to hide. It has to stop. So there will be no ID card scheme. No national identity register, a halt to second generation biometric passports,” He added, “We won’t hold your internet and email records when there is just no reason to do so. Britain must not be a country where our children grow up so used to their liberty being infringed that they accept it without question. Schools will not take children’s fingerprints without even asking their parent’s consent. This will be a government that is proud when British citizens stand up against illegitimate advances of the state.” The speech of the British Deputy Prime Minister is available at” It added, “it is quite significant to take note of these developments to avoid the fate of Shri Tony Blair and his UK’s Identity Cards Act, 2006. Both have been abandoned.”


During the election campaign, BJP opposed biometric aadhaar in strongest words. Now it is apparent that the MHA has accepted aadhaar as irreversible and as a face saving stance it will have citizens believe that it will not accept biometric aadhaar but will gladly do so if it is mentioned as biometric NPR unmindful of Shri Modi’s opposition to it.   


The technological drive to ensure mastery over human beings is not merely a by-product of a faulty political economy but also of a world view which believes in the absolute control. It has become more and more apparent that genocides, ecodisasters and ehtnocides are but the underside of corrupt sciences and psychopathic technologies wedded to new secular hierarchies, which have reduced major civilization to the status of a set of empty rituals, observes Ashish Nandy in his book The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self under Colonialism. 

The lessons from database based genocides are part of recent world history should not be forgotten in the face of a large section of complicit and partisan corporate media especially those that regularly received advertisements from UIDAI and its partners.


The MHA’s initiative for biometric NPR reveals that no lessons are being learnt from misuse of online electoral database and census data by Big Data companies. The companies like FourthLion Technologies and Modak Analytics have collected and analysed electoral data in the absence of any data protection law.  The latter analysed 18 tera bytes of data and built India’s first Big Data-based Electoral Data Repository system and vetted about data related to 81 crore people to help our client understand the electorate on a wide variety of aspects such as caste, gender, age and economic status. We used all the publicly available data provided by Election Commission and Census figures.

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Aadhaar Data Minefield Sends Warning Bells Ringing #UID

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By Yatish Yadav

Published: 08th June 2014 01:58 AM


NEW DELHI:  Your biometric and biographic data collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for the 12-digit unique Aadhaar number could well be at Fort Meade, the headquarters of the US spy agency NSA.

Intelligence agencies that had forewarned the government two years ago about the vulnerability of Aadhaar data, owing to involvement of foreign players, are livid over the latest NSA disclosures that the US was prying on the biometric database.

Needless to say, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) is in a tizzy. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s recent revelation that the American intelligence agency was covertly collecting biometric data of people from across the world has them worried sick.

Central intelligence agencies had warned the government about a possible security breach in Aadhaar, which is considered the world’s largest biometric database.

The Aadhaar programme under the UIDAI involved several foreign vendors and private companies for storage and collection of individual data, including iris scan and fingerprints. In 2012, the IB warned the state about loopholes in Aadhaar, but the government continued with the enrolment process, sidestepping security concerns.

The NSA top secret documents leaked last week point to the covert operation. “Identity Intelligence is exploiting pieces of information that are unique to an individual to track, exploit and identify targets…,” the papers stated.

Three types of data is being mined by the NSA — biometric, biographic and contextual. Biometric data shows an individual’s physical or behavioural traits like face, iris, fingerprints and voice, etc. Biographic data gives details of life history, including address, school and profession, while contextual data throws light on one’s travel history and financial bank details.

Although, the US Government had earlier scrapped Aadhaar-like project for its residents, it surprisingly mounted covert operations to infiltrate biometric database in other countries. The US decision to not allow biometric profiling of residents was followed by countries like China, Australia and the UK.

The domestic intelligence agencies raised the contentious provision in the contract agreement that allows foreign vendors to keep the biometric data for the next seven years, making it easy prey for the NSA.

“The contract agreement signed by the UIDAI with foreign vendors is absurd. Private companies can easily share it with the US spy agency. We have seen how they arm twist private players to gain foothold in their server,” a top intelligence official said, adding the UIDAI also had arrangements with certain private firms for technology assistance.

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Has Nilekani followed Pakistan’s NADRA in creating, enforcing Aadhaar? #UID

Has Nilekani followed Pakistan’s NADRA in creating, enforcing Aadhaar? –Part XXXIV


Nandan Nilekani

Nandan Nilekani (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


GOPAL KRISHNA | 22/04/2014 02:41 PM


Is it just a coincidence that Tariq Malik of NADRA and Nandan Nilekani received awards at Milan ID World Congress for their similar work? Is Nilekani simply following the footprints of Malik in creating, enforcing biometric-based ID?

Electronics has become a fundamental political problem.
Dr Ernesto “Che” Guevara in 1962

tujhe zibah karne kee khushi, mujhe marne ka shauk,
(You are happy to kill, I am fond of dying)
meri bhee marzi wahi hai, jo mere saiyaad ki hai
(My desire is the same as that of my hunter)
 -Jail Note Book of Shahid-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, 1929

jin ko tha zaban pe naaz (Those proud of their eloquence)
chup hain wo zaban daraaz (Their tongues are completely silent)
chain hai samaaj me (There is tranquility in society)
bemisaal fark hai (This is an unexampled difference)
kal me aur aaj me (Between yesterday and today)
apne kharch par hain qaid (imprisoned at their own expense)
log kaid tere raaj me (people under your rule)

 –Habib Jalib, a revolutionary poet from Pakistan

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has exposed the reluctance of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to share its correspondence including the letter of resignation of Nandan Nilekani from the post of chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) under the Planning Commission. Nilekani is reported to have submitted his resignation to the Prime Minister on 13 March 2014. After the Right to Information (RTI) application in this regard was transferred by the PMO, the Commission in a letter dated 15 April 2014 responded saying that the RTI application “has been inadvertently transferred” to it and marked a copy of its reply to the Planning Commission.

It is apparent that PMO does not wish the resignation letter and the correspondence to be available in the public domain prior to the elections. It deliberately transferred the RTI application to the Election Commission as part of its delaying tactics and perhaps to save the Indian National Congress-led government from possible embarrassment.

For instance, how is engagement with Pakistani Ministry of Interior’s National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) and Election Commission of Pakistan with French corporate conglomerate, Safran Group in India’s national interest? Notably, UIDAI’s awarding of contract to Safran Group links it to Home Ministry’s Registrar General of Citizen Registration, Census and the Election Commission.

The core issue here is the sensitivity of the exchange of letters between key authorities in the sensitive matter of electronic and biometric identification of Indians through Aadhaar, National Population Register (NPR), electoral database and Census database.

In effect, all these databases will be governed by Information Technology (IT) Act.
Notably, in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, the Parliament passed eight Bills in 17 minutes without any debate on 23 December 2008. These Bills included the IT (Amendment) Act, 2008. Its absurdity came to light when the misuse of section 66 (A) and section 79 got widely reported. Subsequent amendments and rules have made the IT Act worse, which the new government will have to look into.

If one looks for parallels in regard to emergence of biometric voter ID cards on India’s horizon, one finds that the Indian government is following the path paved by Government of Ghana, which conducted an election using biometric voter verification and registration systems in 2012. The Electoral Commission of Ghana had made a functional biometric verification machine a pre-condition for voting at all the polling stations. With this Ghana joined those countries, which use a biometric voters’ register for its election. These countries include Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Soloman Islands, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Biometric profiling is likely to be introduced in Bhutan too in the next parliamentary elections. It has been reported that biometric finger print scanners were used during the National Council Election in Bhutan’s two polling stations at Dewachen and Samtse High School in 2013.

Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) conducted the polls in November 2012 using biometric voter registration with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Not surprisingly, Bangladesh Election Commission upgraded its biometric identification and voter registration system and consolidated over hundreds of different databases into a single database running on Oracle Exadata Database Machine X2-2. Was there a domestic demand for centralisation of the database?

Notably, NADRA developed and delivered Nigerian national identity card system for issuance of Smart ID cards to citizens.

In Nepal, the Election Commission introduced voter registration programme based biometric profiling and conducted its elections in November 2013. UNDP had provided strategic technical and operational assistance to the Election Commission in planning and conducting the election through its Electoral Support Project (ESP).  The European Union, UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Denmark and Norway provided financial support to this project.

Coincidentally, the Election Commission of Pakistan is introducing a biometric system for the elections. NADRA has implemented the Multi-Biometric National Identity Card & Multi-Biometric e-Passport solutions for Pakistan, Passport Issuing System for Kenya, Bangladesh High Security Driver’s License, and Civil Registration Management System for Sudan.

Notably, NADRA has won Sri Lanka ID Card project involving data collection of all eligible citizens’ biometric, biographic and digitization and creating a National Persons Registry. It has developed Biometric Refugee Registration System for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and World Bank’s Poverty Score Card/System.

Besides this “NADRA has taken proactive initiative by developing electronic voting machine (EVM) solution proposed to be placed on all polling stations across the country.”
Do Indian voters need learn to subject themselves to biometric identification by transnational intelligence companies like Pakistan’s 86 million registered voters?

It may recalled that 23 April 2010, the World Bank had launched its eTransform Initiative by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with France and South Korea besides transnational companies like L-1 Identity Solutions, IBM, Gemalto, Pfizer and others. It was launched in the presence of Ministers of Finance and Communications from many developing countries. The World Bank is currently funding 14 projects related to e-government and e-ID around the world. These project are unfolding under the influence of international finance and not because there was a domestic need for it.  

Let us ponder over few questions:-

Is it a coincident that the task of Tariq Malik of NADRA, Pakistan and those of Nandan Nilekani, C Chandramouli and VS Sampath appear similar?

Is it also a coincidence that Tariq Malik of NADRA and Nilekani were awarded in Milan, Italy based ID World Congress for their similar work? Nilekani is simply following the footprints of Malik.

Isn’t there a design behind persuading and compelling developing countries to biometrically profile their citizens?  

Is it too early to infer that international bankers, UN agencies and western military alliances wish to create profiles in their biometric and electronic database for coercive use of social control measures?  

Is it not true that uninformed citizens, parliamentarians and gullible government agencies are too eager to be profiled and tracked through an online database?

Would freedom fighters and framer of constitution of India have approved of mass surveillance by any national or transnational agency?

In the US, the budget for intelligence gathering in 2013 was $52.6 billion. Out of which $10.8 billion went to the National Security Agency (NSA). It is about $167 per person. Do Indians know the budget allocation for their intelligence? Why have they been kept in dark about it?

Aren’t allocations for UIDAI, NPR and National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) part of it?

Is it not clear that UN agencies, World Bank Group, transnational intelligence companies and military alliances are working in tandem to create the bio-electronic database of Indians as per their pre-determined design? Is this design structured to safeguard the interest of present and future generation of Indians?      

The next government in India has the task of examining these questions and making the budget allocation for intelligence agencies public and open to legislative scrutiny. If they don’t do it, how else would the new regime be deemed different from the old one and it must explain how national security of US, France and their allies is different from that India.

Even after 52 years while India continues to maintain secrecy about its acts of omission and commission in 1962 war with China. But by now it is clear that after the defeat it felt the need of a strong indigenous electronics base for security. The Department of Electronics was set on 26 June 1970 directly under the Prime Minister in the era in which New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) was still being sought to contest one way flow of information by western media that distorted realities facing the world. It is germane to recollect the historical context in which world’s biggest electronic and biometric database of Indians is being created. Having failed in getting NWICO so far, unless the advocates of NWICO politically challenge the creation of one imperial online database in a robust manner, 21st century will unleash a new great game for takeover of national assets.

Meanwhile, it appears to be too much to expect that the lame duck PMO will share its  correspondence with Nilekani who was mandated to create world biggest biometric database “as per approved strategy” along with Ministry of Home Affair (MHA)’s NPR before May 2016. PMO’s notoriety in misplacing sensitive files has given birth to understandable apprehensions in this regard. Hopefully, the new government will ensure that the PMO provides these relevant files.

The authoritarianism of electronic and biometric web is emerging as intrusive extensions of transnational powers due to complicity without any political scrutiny in the country.


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Modi criticises Aadhaar, yet implements it in Gujarat #Feku #NaMo #UID

Saikat Datta and Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times  New Delhi/Gandhinagar, April 19, 2014

First Published: 00:08 IST(19/4/2014) | Last Updated: 18:59 IST(19/4/2014)

Narendra Modi may have criticised Aadhaar, but official documents show the Gujarat government has implemented the central programme efficiently, while collecting more personal data than required in some cases.

The Gujarat government also warned people of “penal action” if the data was not submitted, the documents said, adding chief minister Modi was appointed as the chairperson of the committee overseeing the implementation of Aadhaar.

These documents were made available to HT by Venkatesh Nayak, a Right to Information (RTI) activist and the programme coordinator of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. He accessed the documents from websites of various state departments and through RTI applications.

Besides, parliamentary data shows Gujarat registered 22 million Aadhaar card holders as on December 31, 2013.

Ashish Mathur’s Aadhaar letter has a tree photo. Agency Photo

Aadhaar is an ambitious project of the UPA government to provide a unique 12-digit identity number to the citizens. The SC had recently said Aadhaar card was not mandatory for any of the governmental schemes.

When asked, a top Gujarat official said the state had implemented the scheme efficiently, but refused to comment whether more information were collected than required. “We have collected details that were required for the project.”

Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party‘s (BJP’s) prime ministerial nominee, had recently criticised the Aadhaar scheme at an election rally in Bangalore, stressing he had warned the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) of its faults but was ignored.

He had added the UPA had “failed to convince the Supreme Court” and thus the scheme failed.

Nayak told HT that Modi’s criticism was at variance with what his government did, but pointed out there were several problems with the Aadhaar project.

“I checked how much and how often the state government under Mr Modi had opposed the rollout of Aadhaar in Gujarat.”

On the other hand, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitaraman told HT that Aadhaar was being pushed by the Union government through an executive order and as the chief minister of Gujarat, Modi was expected to implement the programme in the state.

“But that does not mean he will not question it and underline what is wrong. If he had not implemented it in Gujarat, he would have been blamed for delaying it.”

The documents said a resolution was passed by the Gujarat government’s general administration department on March 23, 2010, to set up a council to implement Aadhaar. Modi was later appointed as its chairperson.

According to two resolutions passed by the general administration department on August 25, 2011, the state government had decided to seek “additional information about the residents”.

These were PAN card numbers, election identity card details, ration cards, disability cards and details of LPG/PNG gas connections. The “non-inclusion” of these details, the resolutions said, “will lead to penal action”.

The Aadhaar scheme only seeks proof of identity and address and collects the biometric data of the citizen.

“Aadhaar is… an attempt by the governments to collect more and more data about people without telling them how and who will use it. This is the grandest project in India of the surveillance state,” Nayak said.

(With inputs from Moushumi Dasgupta)

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