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VINITA DESHMUKH | 27/03/2014

While Nandan Nilekani, former chairman of UIDAI, is busy fighting his election, he has left behind a dubious record of keeping the Aadhaar holders in the dark regarding access to their biometrics and other personal details by any private or public agency

Now, it is from the horse’s mouth.  The office of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has admitted that information regarding biometrics and other personal details of Aadhaar, the 12-digit unique identification (UID) number, to any outside agency cannot be revealed to the holder unless it is requested by the government. In addition, once you have been allocated the UID number, there is no way to delete or cancel it, which means you cannot opt out of it. More shocking is that Aadhaar was never used to authenticate subsidies for the LPG cylinder. It was just used as an identifier for the bank.


The second appeal was heard In a Central Information Commission (CIC) Sharat Sabharwal’s office on 13 March, 2014, wherein he stated that although the RTI applicant, CJ Karira had filed a requisition under Section 7 of the RTI Act, which requires the PIO to give information within 48 hours; the requisition does not specifically come under this section. However, his order stated: “…we took this appeal up for consideration out of turn as the answers of the public authority to the queries of the Appellant in the instant case may be of interest to a large number of UID card holders, who may have similar apprehensions as the Appellant regarding sharing of the data provided by them to the UIDAI for obtaining a UID card.”


Karira, co-convener of India Against Corruption (IAC) filed a RTI application on 27 September 2013 seeking information regarding sharing of his Aadhaar data to outside agencies. He also asked for certified copies of the agencies with whom the data has been shared and procedure to delete one’s name from the UID register.


Not having received a reply from the CPIO, he filed an appeal to the First Appellate Authority (FAA) on 13 November, 2013. The FAA did not conduct any hearing or pass any order. On 23 December 2013, the CPIO gave him partial and wrong information, particularly regarding the query of whether details of his UID number was shared with any agency.

Karira stated to the FAA that the “information provided by the CPIO vide his letter dated 23 December 2013, was ‘incomplete and incorrect’, because HPCL and the State Bank of Mysore had his UID number and got the same authenticated through UIDAI, while the CPIO had stated in his reply that his data had not been shared with any entity outside the UIDAI.”


Karira again asked for “complete and correct information free of charge; imposition of penalty on the CPIO under section 20(1) of the RTI Act for the delay in provision of information; a warning to the FAA to dispose of appeals to him within the stipulated time limits under the RTI Act; departmental action against the CPIO and the FAA under the relevant rules and regulations and; a direction to the public authority to arrange training on RTI matters for its concerned officials.”


Having failed to get the required information and to request action against delay of information, Karira went in second appeal with the CIC on 15 January 2014.


The CIC order observes during the hearing on 13 March, 2014, “… it is seen that three of his queries related to the requests… for authentication/ confirmation/ matching of any of his data held by the UIDAI, the details of the persons or entities asking for such authentication etc. and certified copies of requests for such authentication and replies by the UIDAI..”


“The CPIO had stated in his reply dated 23 December 2013 that Karira’s data had not been shared with any entity outside the UIDAI. Karira has submitted that this information was misleading, because he had given his UID number to his gas agency and bank in connection with provision of subsidy on supply of cooking gas cylinders.”


“UIDAI stated that the use of the UID number, provided by the Appellant to his gas agency and bank, was for the limited purpose of ensuring that the person being provided the gas cylinders and subsidy was the same. It did not involve authentication/ matching by those agencies with the data held by them.”


The shocker is about the procedure to surrender one’s Aadhaar number. The order observes: “Two of the queries related to the procedure by which a UID number holder could surrender his UID number and card and get his data erased from the data base of the UIDAI. The CPIO informed the Appellant vide his letter dated 13th and 16 January 2014 that as on date, there was no such procedure adopted by the UIDAI to delete the UID number from the UID database.


The last query in the RTI application sought information regarding the non-UIDAI entities/ persons, who have access to his personal/ demographic/ biometric data held by UIDAI or with whom UIDAI has shared such data.


“…The CPIO stated that data would be shared only on a formal request by the State concerned through the Nodal Departments for the delivery of welfare and public services and schemes of the Government. Karira submitted during the hearing that a declaration in the application for UID number obtains the consent of the applicant for such sharing of data. The Respondents stated that such consent is not mandatory, but optional.’’


The CIC also ordered that UIDAI should have adequate number of CPIOs and FAAs to ensure that all applications are disposed off within the relevant time frame. According to CIC, “…there had been a surge in the RTI applications to the UIDAI through the online RTI portal since August-September 2013, and as many as 480 applications were received between August & November 2013…We are surprised that a public authority such as the UIDAI, with widespread public dealings, should have thought it fit to have only one CPIO until recently.”


Reacting on the CIC order, RTI activist Maj Gen SCN Jatar (retd) said, “It is shocking to note that Aadhaar is not used to authenticate LPG gas subsidies. It is only an identifier for a bank and the OMC to ‘match’ the number; there is no way to delete an UID number once allocated; there is no way to delete the biometric and other details of a citizen who wants to “opt out” of Aadhaar; there is no record maintained of who Aadhaar data is shared with and; there is no record maintained of who Aadhaar data is shared with!’’


Here is the order from the CIC…


Read mor ehere — http://www.moneylife.in/article/aadhaar-once-allotted-you-can-never-cancel-it-reveals-rti/36838.html

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