The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy; they are deliberate exercises in doublethink. For it is only by reconciling contradictions that power can be retained indefinitely.
George Orwell, 1984, p. 127
Dr Anupam Saraph
Newspeak, for those unfamiliar with Orwell, is the name of an artificial official language in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Much of the vocabulary of Newspeak is based on Doublethink. Doublethink is the art of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and accepting both of them. The language in Orwell’s 1984 transforms societal values and the lives of the people completely.
From 2009, when Aadhaar was officially born, the governments in India too have invented an artificial official language. Let’s call it Aadhaarspeak for want of an official name. Although Newspeak is much more than WYSIWYDG, my tech friends call it WYSIWYDG. That’s the opposite of WYSIWYG.
Aadhaarspeak is considered the language of progress. The language of a youthful India. A language of technology and the future. A language that will transform India into a super power, whatever that is. It’s the language where the government is paperless, cashless, and presence-less.
As even existence in India becomes impossible without Aadhaar, many say that the purpose of Aadhaarspeak is to digitally colonise India. Some deny that Aadhaarspeak will cause the country to rid its people of their sovereignty, to become democracy-less, bank-less and defence-less.
There is no official dictionary of Aadhaarspeak. That’s why very few know of its existence. That’s also one of the reasons why very few understand what it means. I mean what it really translates to. If you don’t know a whole vocabulary, you don’t understand its world. You can’t make sense of the debate. You miss the point. Before you know it the language changes yourworld, your life with it. It alters your ability to survive or even exist.
So I decided to attempt a glossary for the benefit of those who like to know about it, understand their world and describe it accurately. Its purpose is simply to provide the beginner a first introduction to Aadhaarspeak. It can also be considered as merely a documentation of the voluntary words of 2017.
This modest effort is work-in-progress. Slow, with no sponsorship or even official recognition. This compilation is the result of contributions from hundreds of officials from various governments, thousands of people from all walks of life and over seven years of research. Hundreds of public documents, news reports contributed to this compilation. Painful, as the official references keep playing hide and seek. And sometimes even disappearing altogether. It is, therefore, neither complete nor the official version. Any official denials are, therefore most welcome, especially to set the record absolutely straight for posterity.
If it sounds like technology jargon, some of it is just that. In its fullness Aadhaarspeak is the work of genius. I leave it for you to attribute the quality of goodness or evil to the genius. For that is your right to choice, I would not rob from you. Especially as it will tell me more about you, than of the genius designing Aadhaarspeak.
I recognise that many users of Aadhaarspeak face many limitations in using it to communicate the past with those in the future. That, in the spirit of Newspeak, must be merely accepted as the shortcoming of those who cannot accept the universality of Aadhaarspeak.
Like any glossary is not meant to be read from A to Z, this too should not be read from A to Z. It is meant as a reference, not as a novel. Some early readers have commented that each word could become a Kafka plot, a Galsworthy tragedy or a Solzhenitsyn description of life in the now extinct USSR. That, is merely their imagination running wild.
Those seeking to end Aadhaarspeak seek right to choice, right to self-rule, freedom from coercion, and call an end to digital colonisation by Aadhaar
Just so you know, any resemblance to doublethink is, then, purely your imagination. As many geniuses have highlighted, after all, how can doublethink, the art of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them, be progress?
The intense debate in the highest courts of the land on just one word from Aadhaarspeak, privacy, after almost 5 years of whispered conversations in corridors on some of Aadhaarspeak, speaks volumes for the power of each word. It may take a lifetime to settle them all. Unless of course they start with the one word they started with in 2013 that is not in Aadhaarspeak.
The word that may not be spoken formed the directions of the highest court of the land in its orders of September 23, 2013. It’s a word we dare not utter anymore as no one, say the official statistics, suffers anymore as we are now voluntarily in Aadhaar land.
They say we-the-people have not spoken. We uttered no words when we spent long hours in queues to deposit our hard earned money back in the bank. So the official version must be true.
But then, I am told there are still overwhelmingly large number of individuals who are resisting and even rewriting the Aadhaarspeak. They hope this edition of Aadhaarspeak will be discarded. They look with hope to the Supreme Court to declare this list as corrupt and illegal. They pray that the Supreme Court will restore our right to choice, right to self-rule, freedom from coercion, and a call an end to digital colonisation by Aadhaar. They will ensure that these will not become thought-crimes.
Many would want the world to believe we are not the Mahatma’s India anymore. There is little meditation, satyagraha or civil disobedience left in us anymore. That, said the likes of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, is what character is all about. It is what shapes us and makes a nation great.
Perhaps those amongst you who are wiser and more equipped to create liberationspeak, for those of us who cannot understand or have little use of Aadhaarspeak, I wish you success. I wish you well. Godspeed.
Below, till then, is a first, still work-in-progress, attempt to compile Aadhaarspeak.
The Beginners Glossary of Aadhaarspeak
Disclaimer: This is not an official glossary. It is released as-is without any warranties, express or otherwise. You are encouraged to do your own thinking, and research if required, before applying, using or discarding any word. Those with better access to official papers are encouraged to improve or use this glossary and release their version under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA.
Aadhaar means support. A program to support corruption would lend aadhaar to the corrupt. A program to support money-laundering would lend aadhaar to creating a tax-haven to replace Panama. When a program makes a community nir-aadhaar (without support) it gives aadhaar to the corrupt.
Also a program confusing identification with authentication and using remote authentication of data to replace identification by officials present during transaction. Sometimes refers to the flagship program of digital India. Better recognised as the worlds largest database of biometrics of residents in India, except no-one checked if they were resident or even existing. Also a program to convert the educated into illiterate, helpless, weak and colonised. Synonymous for Unique ID or UID.
Sometimes used as a short-form for Aadhaar number.
Aadhaar number is a 12 digit random number assigned to access (unverified and unaudited) demographic and biometric data submitted by private agencies. Sometimes called as the UID number.
Every organisation in India swears by this number as if it were the new magic number (like the number of nucleons in atoms such that they are arranged into complete shells within the atomic nucleus or pi in geometry). They use it against all wisdom and computer science principles to be the single key to access every data table they hold even as other organisations do the same.
Without this number you cannot find the record containing a “unique” biometric because it turns out that the biometrics are not unique after all.
Some say it is a digital switch to (de)activate an individual to remotely cause instantaneous civil birth (of ghosts) or death of individuals (dissenters).
Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) is a magical payment system to hide the bank account that receives money transferred to your Aadhaar number. Unlike traditional digital money transfers digital payments made over this system are able to hide the source and destination.
This is also the government’s preferred payment system for money transfersfrom government accounts over the Reserve Bank of India’s own digital payment systems (NEFT and RTGS). Must be good. Really good.
Sometimes regarded by money-launderers as the new and more sophisticated alternative to having shell accounts like in Panama or risky bitcoins. It’s considered cooler than bitcoins as it doesn’t require you to understand blockchains, all you need to know is Aadhaar numbers.
Aadhaar Act is the common lexicon for The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act 2016. Declared as an Act to provide for, as a good governance, efficient, transparent, and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services, the expenditure for which is incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India. Also meant to assign unique identity numbers to to individuals residing in India with sweeping powers to deactivate the numbers.
This is what makes the UIDAI the most powerful body in the country. After all through this Act the UIDAI can literally create ghosts out of anyone and perhaps also no-one.
It’s a legislation to be ignored beyond its giving foundation to the UIDAI and legitimising Aadhaar. After all the UIDAI turns a blind eye to the use of Aadhaar numbers beyond that permitted in this Act – for example to link Aadhaar numbers to other databases, to retain, store and even publish them.
Authentication User Agency (AUA) are organisations that want you to authenticate with the UID number when someone in the business process, co-located with you, could identify you with an ID document they have issued to you. This way, some allege, they can shed the liability of identifying you, have a way of denying you access to a service, benefit or entitlement for reasons of authentication failure, denial or to claim your benefits by misusing the authentication.
This is the newest way to split a business process, to absolve responsibility of the process, by outsourcing the most important part of the process to a party that is neither present, responsible or liable. This is similar to absolving the responsibility of the bus driver from identifying the school child because the UIDAI, through licences parties who are not present in the bus, authenticates those who board or disembark from the bus.
Agencies encouraging you to authenticate many-many times and can charge upto 20 Rs., every time they make you authenticate yourself. After all they have to recover the licence fee of Rs 10 lakhs (0.1 million) and a bank guarantee of 25 lakhs (0.25 million) — the costs they never needed to have before Aadhaar.
Authentication Service Agencies (ASA) are organisations that dream up reasons to have the AUA query the UID database. They help break up a business process to remove liability of service providers. They encourage outsourcing authentication. They merely submit the queries passed on to them by the AUA to the Managed Service Provider (MSP) to access the UIDAI’s database.
These agencies are simply like a messenger boy that further insulate the UIDAI from directly answering any query or being responsible for the success or failure of a request. A terrific way to build an “ecosystem” with stake in increasing the authentication requests per hour.
These agencies have shelled out a license fee of Rs. 1 crore (10 million) and a bank guarantee of 50 lakhs (5 million).
Authentication is the new identification. This is simply the match/no match response returned from the UIDAI’s database of UID numbers to data submitted by an ASA.
Data can be submitted by a real person to whom it belongs or from any device that stored such data without possibility to say with certainty if the real person submitted it. This ensures that presence-less transactions usher progress. If you can’t distinguish the real transaction from the fake, it’s your problem, not that of the AUA or the UIDAI.
If you highlight such vulnerability, very likely that you will be declared a criminal as has been done in the case of those who demonstrated this and data leaks.
Biometrics is technology documenting some attribute of your body now with the aim of rejecting your identity at a later date if your biometric no longer matches the one documented. Some say this is also the newest technology for exclusion of individuals from life by denying them services, benefits and rights.
It’s also about making you believe that your uniqueness is not about the unique combination of millions of your body’s attributes but just a few individual ones. Sometimes leads to the belief that you are not unique in different ways at different times in your life and also leading to the confusion that your uniqueness is your identity.
There is widespread belief that biometrics cannot be copied, changed or reused. Many believe that the biometric of German defence minister was hacked using a camera and iris scans used by a simple print of an eye photoare just stories intended to stop progress.
Central Identities Data Repository(CIDR) is a centralised database of (unverified and unaudited) demographic and biometric data that is indexed using a 12 digit random number. The 12 digit random number is also known as the UID number or Aadhaar number.
Conspiracy theory is every description of the world that is politically incorrect or a counter narrative — like for example an explanation about the purpose of newspeak and imagined outcomes. Oh, of course it is not about an inconvenient explanation of reality.
Cost of Identification is simply the cost of swiping your biometric.
UID pundits repeatedly tell us not to confuse cost of identification with the cost of creating a UID enrolment, seeding, authentication infrastructure and the cost to individuals of multiple visits for authentication, extreme inconvenience or even exclusion. Don’t confuse it with the additional costs by adding a layer of outsourced and unaccountable business processes to ‘identity silos’ across departments that deliver benefits, subsidies and entitlements.
Corruption is holding a bank account that is not linked to Aadhaar numbers. Or for that matter a Permanent Account Number not linked to the Aadhaar number. Or possessing a promissory note from the Reserve Bank of India of 500 Rs or 1,000 Rs denomination.
Corruption is also claiming benefits or entitlements, due to you, if your records don’t have Aadhaar number linked to them, the Aadhaar Act of 2016 notwithstanding.
Not to be confused with lists in sealed envelopes submitted to the courts because the privacy of a few matters. No, it’s not about the huge non performing assets on the bank books that are being written off. Definitely not about the leaking business processes in government or increased spending on totally useless projects in the name of development.
De-duplication is about allowing only one entry for you in every database. This is based on the strong belief that every resident has been putting all the good days of ones life to the purpose of creating multiple entries in every database. No one has estimated the amount of duplicates and ghosts in various databases or filed any complaints against hundreds of millions who are imagined to have had duplicate entries in databases.
Also refers to the use of technology in unspecified and non-transparent ways to reject data that artificial intelligence of the software believes has already been assigned a UID number. Is also the removal of those records in a database that do not exist in the UIDAI’s database of numbers.
I gather there are still overwhelmingly many who are resisting and even rewriting this newspeak. They believe this edition of newspeak will be discarded. They look with hope to the Supreme Court to declare this list as corrupt and illegal.
Democracy is when digital technology allows people to believe they cast ballot and elect the government.
Digital Colonisation is a widespread conspiracy theory alleging that private interests are colonising national and public interests using digital technologies like Aadhaar.
Some allege that non-government organisations like NPCI (running the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System) and GSTN (running the new Goods and Service Tax collection) are the new East India Companies. Many worry that this is leading to destroying sovereignty, democracy and socialist promises they allege exist in the Preamble.
Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) an idea of transferring a sum of money to your Financial Address instead of providing you the subsidised service or entitlement. Giving you a tax rebate or transferring money to the bank account that you have had for decades is an unacceptable location to claim this money.
Document fraud is the use of counterfeited/misleading documents to enter incorrect personal information. Some say this fraud exists extensively in identification documents in different ministries and want to use Aadhaar numbers to detect the fraud and eliminate it.
Others argue that Aadhaar numbers were obtained using these documents and therefore cannot be used to detect and clean these documents of document fraud.
Various “sting” operations by curious journalists have allegedly exposed organised manufacture of counterfeit documents to enrol ghosts and duplicates for obtaining Aadhaar numbers. Various law enforcement officials are also said to have busted Aadhaar generating gangs.
Electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) is a digitally signed record containing demographic information and photograph of an Aadhaar number holder. Ignoring the Aadhaar Act of 2016, it can also contain the UID number. It replaces any identification documents to identify the customer. Anyone in possession of your eKYC record can use it across multiple organisations to claim authentication. In practice it need not be retained beyond 6 months so no one needs to know how you obtained the customer.
Makes banking really, really convenient for those operating multiple accounts remotely.
After KYC data of 120 million customers of a telecom company was leakedand for sale in the dark web, fears are being expressed that eKYC records may be used by third parties, including banks, to onboard customers fraudulently. Others express fears that these records can also claim transactions that never happened.
Financial Address is not your bank account number, it is your UID number. This way no one needs to know which account actually holds the money sent to the Aadhaar number using the AEPS. Considered as a perfect solution to eliminate black money by making it untraceable, digital and part of the banking system.
Financial Inclusion is by ensuring a billion Financial Addresses. Every Aadhaar number becomes a financial address. Just to make sure linking it to every bank account must be made mandatory. If this is not done, justifying moving to AEPS will be much more difficult.
Also given that no one really knows how many of the Aadhaar numbers are real individuals, isn’t this the perfect way to ensure financial inclusion of ghosts? Who said they need to be real individuals?
Between 2009 and 2014 when Bank Accounts could be opened solely with Aadhaar numbers as a KYC, bank accounts doubled from about 66 crores (660 million) to 122 crores (1.22 billion) and deposits grew from about 40 lakh crores (40 trillion Rs) to 80 lakh crores (80 trillion Rs). Undoubtedly financial inclusion of people in 94.7% of the villages in the country without a single bank.
Fraud elimination is expected as the UID number serves as a single, universal identity number and is transformational since individuals will no longer be able to represent themselves differently to different agencies. Since no one can detect the organised criminals, who will be able to represent themselves as others and ghosts using Aadhaar numbers, we can safely consider fraud to have been eliminated.
Ghosts are those residents who exist in identity databases in India who, in order to prevent them from seeping into the UIDAI database, were eliminated from its database with “proper verification of their demographic and biometric information existing in the identity databases”. This, skeptics say, moves ghosts from existing databases to the Aadhaar database.
The Aadhaar enrolment has been unlike that of any other identity document. According to the IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, 34,000 operators who tried to make fake Aadhaar Cards have been blacklisted. Even if each operator worked for a year before being blacklisted, at about 100 cards a day amounts to over a billion cards. That is more than 95 percent of the database.
Since these ghosts are undetectable, they don’t exist.
Identification is not to be confused with the ability, of an official present, to verify that the features used to identify the person present are comparable and compared with the information available about these features.
It is to be used as a synonym for authentication of information.
Simply submit an Aadhaar number in most cases and consider it as identification. Sometimes be more rigorous and compare the biometric you may posses with another database of biometrics that you posses or the CIDR if you don’t posses your own database.
When there is little any individual can do to deny this presence-less identification, imagine the new business models of digital and virtual transactions this can unleash.
Identity is what you are said to have. But only after the UIDAI assigns you a number. The UID will only guarantee identity, not rights, benefits or entitlements. This guarantee does not mean you can use it to establish your identity overtime, everywhere.
The UIDAI retain the right to deactivate your identity without having to inform you. Never mind that all the databases that require your UID authentication will now cease to work. Never mind that this will now close your access to benefits, entitlements, even your mobile phones, travel tickets and bank accounts. The UIDAI says it has deactivated only 85 Lakh Aadhaar numbers to date. After all you, like those deactivated, are only a number.
Many believe your identity is provable by your biometric.
Identity Barrier is meant to describe an inability to prove identity as the biggest barrier preventing the poor from accessing benefits and subsidies. Describes the plight of the poor and underprivileged residents, who according to the UIDAI (who should know as they issued 99.99% of their UID numbers based on at least two other identification documents), usually lack identity documentation.
Describes the plight of those who find it difficult to meet the costs of multiple verification processes but will readily pay Rs. 10–25 every time the ever successful UID ecosystem requires them to present the UID number.
Also meant to suggest a presence-less use of your UID number by eKYC by anyone to eliminate the Identity Barrier in place of different documents, the forms that are required to be filled, and the information that needs to be collected from individuals by different service providers delivering benefits and subsidies.
It is politically incorrect to say that this has something to create a modern day slave.
Identity fraud, where an individual deliberately impersonates someone else, either real or fictitious. Surely you did not think of including ghost and duplicate identities resulting from document fraud here, did you?
Inclusion is being assigned an Aadhaar number or an Aadhaar enrolment number. It is about being seeded out of the beneficiary or entitlement listbecause you do not have an UID number or because someone decided it did not match your record in the department delivering the benefit or entitlement without asking you. What results is savings reported by the government while turning you into a ghost or a duplicate in the beneficiary database.
Justice is that which is missed by those who don’t accept newspeak.
KUA are organisations that want your demographic data, without your presence, through eKYC to “onboard” you for services or benefits. Telecom companies and Banks use eKYC to allow presence-less on-boarding of customers and describe this as a revolution to scale their customer base.
Objections of the RBI for using Aadhaar as an KYC and enabling eKYC notwithstanding, now the government wants every bank account to be Aadhaar enabled.
KSA are organisations that dream up ways to allow KUAs to onboard customers.They are agencies that submit the eKYC request to the Managed Service Provider (MSP) to access the UIDAI’s database. They receive the eKYC record from the MSP and return it to the KUA.
KYC/KYR are the barriers for enrolling residents, especially the poor, by devising suitable procedures to ensure their exclusion or compromising the integrity of the data.
Linking Aadhaar to everything is something essential to assert its existence.Without an Aadhaar linkage, it doesn’t exist. The Aadhaar Act doesn’t allow for use of the Aadhaar number for any linkage, in fact even prohibits any use beyond authentication, but who cares?
Managed Service Provider (MSP) is an organisation appointed by UIDAI that manages UIDAI’s CIDR. they are in charge of all the data and operations based on the data.
UIDAI is secretive about this entity. Some say this is a non-Indian company, the same that manages Pakistan’s ID program.
Money Bill is a bill that the Rajya Sabha (upper house of the Parliament) can’t vote on. Only the Lok Sabha (lower house of the Parliament) can vote on this Bill to turn it to Law.
Skeptics allege every bill that makes money by passing it is a Money Bill. Nobody says who it makes money for.
Money Laundering is now about shell individuals, not just shell companies anymore. As millions of shell bank accounts and untraceable money transfers become possible, alternatives to Panama become real.
Partnership model is when private agencies can leverage the existing infrastructure, budgets and programs of government for private gains.
This is a tried, tested and successful business model of the East India Company. Very scalable and highly marketable as everything private seems to be better to people.
Permanent Account Number (PAN) a number that is declared to not have been issued to you, if you don’t link it to Aadhaar. Very permanent. After all many used it to obtain the Aadhaar that they now need to link to the PAN to keep the PAN valid.
Privacy is something added to a debate to ensure outsourcing government, privatising national interest, maximising government and colonising your life can continue by keeping extremely private any questions about right to choice, self-rule, national security and freedom from coercion, whether or not privacy ultimately is your right.
Purification of databases is the process of eliminating records that do not exist in the UID database. The best way to claim savings when you do not change business processes that add expenses by outsourcing them.
Registrars are government agencies who were accused by the UIDAI, in its Strategy document, of having databases fraught with problems of fraud and duplicate/ghost beneficiaries. They were described by the UIDAI as well suited to act as agents to build the worlds largest database of UID numbers. They outsourced enrolment of residents into the Aadhaar database to private agencies.
Savings constitute the funds from the Consolidated Fund of India that did not have to go to those individuals who could be declared to not exist by any one of the following means:
- Deactivating their UID number
- Declaring persons as ghosts
- Declaring persons as duplicates
- Excluding those without an UID number
Transaction Costs for the poor will now be reduced as they will need to prove identity only once, again and again even when proving identity was not required so that AUAs can charge them Rs. 25 per authentication.
Unique Identification is the single record that is returned, from a database of over a billion numbers, in response to querying with a UID number.
UID Number a number that is not repeated in the database. A primary key of the database. Absolutely needed because your demographic and biometric is not unique to retrieve a unique record from the database.
The same as Aadhaar number explained earlier.
Verified Identity used to refer to UID numbers assigned to records storing the unverified and unaudited demographic and biometric submitted by private agencies.
Voluntary is the new mandatory. According to the UIDAI Strategy Document, enrolment to obtain the UID number would be declared voluntary by the UIDAI. However governments and Registrars mandate enrolment on recommendation of a committee of the government and Registrars headed by the Chairman of UIDAI.