Who allowed merger of voter database with the illegal Aadhaar? Part 32

The enthusiastic endorsement of illegal UIDAI and its inexplicable eagerness to merge electoral photo identity card -EPIC numbers and electoral database, with the Aadhaar biometric database that faces robust legal challenge, merits probe

“I have a file on you.”

- MK Narayanan’s routine threat to his adversaries as National Security Adviser (NSA) quoted in Sanjay Baru's book 'The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh'


“One way to ensure that the unique identification (UID) number is used by all government and private agencies is by inserting it into the birth certificate of the infant. Since the birth certificate is the original identity document, it is likely that this number will then persist as the key identifier through the individual’s various life events, such as joining school, immunizations, voting etc.”
 

- A confidential document of UIDAI titled ‘Creating a unique identity number for every resident in India’, leaked by Wikileaks on 13 Nov 2009
 

The proponents of world's biggest citizen identification scheme aims to converge electoral photo identity card (EPIC) numbers of electoral database, the UID/Aadhaar number database called Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) and the National Population Register (NPR). In their myopia, political parties in particular and citizens in general have failed to fathom its ramifications for voting by electors in a democracy. 
 

A bizarre situation is emerging where citizens chose a government that was supposed to represent them but their government is undertaking the task of biometrically authenticating whether or not those it represents are indeed those who they claim to be.   
 

In a letter dated 7 June 2011, the Director General and Mission Director of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) wrote to Chief Election Commissioner saying, “The Election Commission of India (ECI) may also like to leverage Aadhaar infrastructure in cleaning/ updating their existing electoral data base. Aadhaar numbers issued by the UIDAI can also be included in the list of valid proof of identity (POI) and proof of address (POA) documents of the Election Commission during the polls for identity verification.”
 

The file notings by ECI on the UIDAI’s letter reads: “How can Aadhaar number used as proof of address”. The reply from ECI dated 17 June 2011 on the letter from UIDAI sought following information before taking any further action:
 

• Whether UIDAI has the provision to update the address in the database, whenever there is a change in address, to use Aadhaar number as proof of address?

• Whether any process has been defined to use Aadhaar numbers on electoral roll database?

• Whether UIDAI can include EPIC numbers in Aadhaar database?

 

Responding to these question, in its letter dated 11 July 2011 UIDAI wrote, “Aadhaar has the provision to update the demographic or biometric information of the resident in CIDR from time to time to ensure that the CIDR data is up-to date and accurate all the time. The tool is currently under testing and should be widely available shortly.” The CIDR stands for Central Identities Data Repository of the Aadhaar numbers. Has the “tool” promised July 2011 available now? This reply is far from the truth.
 

It further wrote, Aadhaar numbers can be seeded into EPIC and electoral roll databases to clean those databases and also to bring standardisation and uniformity in the Election Commission’s databases across the country. UIDAI does provide necessary technical and financial support under its information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure scheme for integration of Aadhaar number with database of concerned Ministries/ Departments to make them UID compliant. However, the process and schemes to use Aadhaar numbers for their applications are to be defined by the concerned Departments themselves.” 
 

The notification of 28 January 2009 that set up UIDAI, provides the terms of reference (TOR) for its work. There is no reference to the collation of UID number database with electoral database in the TOR. But the TOR does refer to “collation and correlation with UID and its partner databases.” If this reference to ‘partner database’ included electoral database, the UID/ Aadhaar enrolment form never revealed it and took Indian residents for a ride.  
 

Notably, UIDAI was constituted in pursuance of the fourth meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) headed by the then External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherji held on 4 November 2008. Shivraj Patil, the then union home minister and A Raja, the then minister for IT and Communications, HR Bhardwaj, the then law minister and Mani Shankar Aiyar, the then panchayati raj minister, were members of the EGoM wherein Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of Planning Commission was an invitee.

 

UIDAI argued, “Aadhaar database is restricted to the name, date of birth, gender, address, facial image, ten fingerprints and iris of the resident. The data fields are based on the recommendation of the Demographic and Data field Verification Committee headed by N Vittal, former chief vigilance commissioner (CVC). Since Aadhaar database contains absolute minimum information of a resident necessary to establish identity, it is not possible to include EPIC numbers in the Aadhaar database. However, the ECI should seed Aadhaar numbers in the electoral database as clarified above.
 

Prior to this KM Chandrasekhar, cabinet secretary, Government of India (GoI) wrote a letter dated 25 April, 2011 addressed to VK Bhasin, secretary, legislative department stating, “Aadhaar can be treated as a valid Proof of Identity (PoI) and Proof of Address (PoA).”        
 

The Election Commission in its letter dated 4 March 2013 to UIDAI on the subject of “Seeding of Aadhaar number in Electoral Database” wrote that “Commission feels that it would be better that EPIC no. is collected at the time of enrollment for Aadhaar  and put in the Aadhaar database…ECI has already issued instructions that Aadhaar cards can be used as alternative identity documents at polling station…It may be mentioned here that Ministry of Home Affairs has also agreed to print EPIC no. on smart card as issued by Registrar General of India…Under the circumstances, it is once again requested that EPIC no. may be made mandatory for enrollment in Aadhaar.”  In its letter dated 29 October 2012, the ECI had argued that “including EPIC no. as mandatory field in UIDAI database would enable better integration between UIDAI database and electoral database, which will make Aadhaar numbers more useful.”
 

This enthusiastic endorsement of illegal UIDAI’s database and its inexplicable eagerness to merge EPIC no. and electoral database with a database that faces robust legal challenge merits probe.   
  

In a letter dated 16 April 2012, RK Singh, the then secretary, ministry of home affairs (MHA) wrote to Dr SY Quraishi, the then Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), with reference to latter’s letter dated 4 April 2012 “regarding inclusion of Electoral Photo Identity Card -EPIC number in the Aadhaar database.”
 

The secretary, MHA wrote, “The Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India is in the process of creating the National Population Register (NPR) in the country. The NPR, when completed will be a register of all usual residents of the country, which would have the Aadhaar number besides the demographic and biometric data. The Government is also considering a proposal to issue Resident Identity (smart) Cards to all usual residents above the age of 18 years. The scheme is already making good progress and is likely to be completed in the next two years.”
 

The combination of the office of Census Commissioner and RGI creates a legal conflict of interest that is required to be examined because Census Act requires that data of residents of India has to be kept confidential. But RGI created under Citizenship Act admittedly puts the data in public domain. Besides this MHA has also feigned ignorance about the illegality of biometric data collection under NPR, a fact pointed out by BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi. The then secretary of MHA is now fighting parliamentary election on BJP’s ticket.
 

At that time, the secretary, MHA also wrote, “As a part of the process of creating the NPR, the EPIC number is also being collected. This would enable mapping of the Aadhaar number to the EPIC number right from the beginning…Once the mapping is completed, there could be a lot of synergy between the EPIC and NPR databases.” 
 

He pointed out that “while the registration under the NPR is mandatory under the provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955, the production of EPIC Card during the NPR enrolment and capturing the EPIC number is being done on a voluntary basis from the residents. There are, therefore, gaps in the collection of the numbers. The gap can easily be bridged as the Authorities notified for the creation of the NPR are the same as those notified under the Electoral Law and if necessary instructions are issued by the Election Commission, they could easily ensure a complete coverage.”   
 

It is intriguing as to how Election Commission has failed to comprehend the adverse consequences of such convergence. There is nothing in public domain to suggest that implications of such merger have been examined.    
 

The then secretary, MHA informed the CEC that there is mutual agreement between the MHA’s RGI and ECI that “there is a considerable potential to synchronise the two databases and set up a unified platform for future updating of the same and sought CEC’s advice to take it forward. Does the Election Commission realize that synchronization of the two databases is happening as per the design of Wipro’s document and is beyond the mandate given to UIDAI and RGI?
 

It may recalled that one of the earliest documents that refer UIDAI is a 14-page long document titled ‘Strategic Vision: Unique Identification of Residents’ prepared by Wipro Ltd for the Planning Commission envisaged the close linkage that the UIDAI’s Aadhaar would have with the electoral database. The use of electoral database mentioned in Wipro’s document remains on the agenda of the proponents of Aadhaar.
 

The reply of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) dated 1 April 2014 transferring the right to information (RTI) application to Election Commission seems to indicate that linkage of UIDAI with the Commission has already been established.
 

In such a backdrop, PMO’s reluctance to share all the file documents and correspondence relating to Nandan Nilekani and right up to his resignation appears quite sensitive and deserves scrutiny. The attempt to undertake convergence of all the sensitive databases of Indians and Nilekani’s confidence in the irreversibility of these efforts has thrown as yet an unmet open political challenge to the opposition parties.   
 

Is it irrelevant to observe that the letterhead of the UIDAI’s Director General reveals his personal email ID as [email protected]. The question is who authorized the UIDAI’s Director General to use Google’s email account? UIDAI does have its own email account. After relinquishing his post to join as chief secretary, government of Jharkhand, did Mr Sharma surrender his email ID to UIDAI? This email must be investigated to ascertain all the locations around the world from which it has been accessed.
 

The fact that one of the senior most official of UIDAI chose to receive such sensitive information on the server of Google, a private company, is a threat to national security and privacy of Indians. This company is regulated by US laws and has been working in collusion with foreign intelligence agencies. The authorities in the US, where Gmail is headquartered, can legally access the information on the server of Google without a court warrant and without any civil and criminal liability. The Indian government will remain in dark about it. In fact US’ Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) make the exchange of electronic information between Internet Service Providers and the government of US possible. The use of Gmail account demonstrates the lack of professionalism of UIDAI, which has been given the task of handling the database of the personal sensitive information of Indians. This act of omission and commission merits attention. Such gullibility of ministers and IAS officers in particular and officials in general is inexcusable.
 

In the absence of Parliamentary scrutiny institutional accountability for defections by intelligence officials like Major Rabinder Singh, a joint secretary in Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) who seem to have formally defected to US on 14 May 2004 with the help of the US Embassy in Kathmandu despite being under surveillance by R&AW’s Counter-Intelligence & Security Division (CI&S) for three months during the tenure of CD Sahay, who was the Head of R&AW, has not been fixed. The Manmohan Singh government that assumed office on 22 May 2004, dismissed Major Rabinder Singh from service under Article 311 (2) ( c ) of the Constitution of India on 5 June 2004. Indian intelligence agencies have consistently been poached by foreign intelligence agencies.
 

A former special secretary of the R&AW and author of “Escape to Nowhere: Story of an Espionage Agent”, Amar Bhushan says, “It’s the charter of every intelligence organisation to infiltrate and subvert other intelligence agencies.” It has now been revealed that Major Rabinder Singh could not be caught red handed because he had been transmitting the information and documents using voice over internet protocol (VoIP) meant for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over IPl networks through his laptops, which had imprints of 23,100 files. Thus, a database of 23, 100 files of R&AW has been transferred to US agencies without putting any remedial mechanism in place. Are our intelligence agencies really so naïve that they did not know that data can be transferred with VoIP? Can these agencies be trusted with the data of Indians?   
 

Hasn’t all the data collected by Census, UIDAI, RGI and ECI been transmitted to foreign countries through companies L1 Identity Solutions, Accenture and Mongo DB?
 

It has now come to light from Sanjay Baru's book 'The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh' that the Prime Minister declined “to take a daily briefing from chiefs of both the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) who were told to report to the National Security Advisor (NSA)”. MK Narayanan, as NSA, claimed that he had a file on his adversaries but he and his ilk does not seem to realize that National Security Agency of US and its Five Eyes Alliance have a file on them too. It appears that the Prime Minister accepted the fait accompli of all the Indians including him being subjected to surveillance by imperial powers with collaborators giving a field day.
 

In the 41 page long Wikileaked document titled ‘Creating a unique identity number for every resident in India’ that declared itself to be a ‘Confidential- property of UIDAI’ states, “The Unique ID or UID will be a numeric that is unique across all 1.2 billion residents in India. The UID number will not contain intelligence. In older identity systems, it was customary to load the ID number with information related to the date of birth, as well as the location of the person. However, this makes the number susceptible to fraud and theft, and migration of the resident quickly makes location details out of date. The UID will be a random number.”
 

While the Election Commission, cabinet secretary, home secretary and UIDAI have accepted UID/Aadhaar as “proof of address”, this Wikileaked document reveals that making it a proof of location was not part of its conceptual design. It is a puzzle as how agencies after agencies started accepting biometric Aadhaar as proof of address?
      

In fact each new born infant is a suspect. There is a file being created to track and profile him for good.
 

Like Indian NSA’s threat to his adversaries about having a file on them, having a UID/Aadhaar number automatically creates a file of the Indian residents in question. Even infants are not spared in this scheme of things. 
 

The confidential document reveals that from day one the Prime Minister wanted to create a file on each of “1.2 billion residents”, the division of work between MHA’s NPR and UIDAI was merely an attention diversion tactics to outwit political scrutiny. The merger of the electoral database with UID/number debunks UIDAI’s claim that UID number “will not contain intelligence” and “the location of the person.”
 

From these disclosures, it appears that PMO has adopted an adversarial role vis-à-vis Indians and acting beyond their legal mandate to pander to the interests of the commercial czars, non-state actors and foreign intelligence companies. 
 

Why is India’s officialdom and political class blind to subversion of national interest by unelected officials of PMO under the leadership of Nero like Prime Minister through bartering of citizen’s databases?
 

In a country where, no intelligence chief or official has held accountable for the assassination of two of its Prime Ministers and for betraying nation’s secrets, can it be hoped that all those who compromised India’s data security will made liable for their treacherous acts? 
 

Is it the case that the database scam is bigger than all the scams of Indian National Congress led Government? There is no reason for the PMO to deny information under RTI, which it admittedly is in possession of.
 

Post election, there is a compelling logic for setting up a High Powered Commission of Inquiry to probe the goings in the PMO and intelligence agencies that engineered and bulldozed the database project by compelling various government departments and States including Election Commission to comply with the dictates of illegal UIDAI.
 

You may also want to read…

 

Why biometric identification of citizens must be resisted? Part I
 

Biometric identification is modern day enslavement -Part II
 

Biometric profiling, including DNA, is dehumanising -Part III
 

Marketing and advertising blitzkrieg of biometric techies and supporters -Part IV
 

History of technologies reveals it is their owners who are true beneficiaries -Part V
 

UID's promise of service delivery to poor hides IT, biometrics industry profits –Part VI
 

Technologies and technology companies are beyond regulation? -Part VII
 

Surveillance through biometrics-based Aadhaar –Part VIII
 

Narendra Modi biometrically profiled. What about Congress leaders?-Part IX
 

Aadhaar: Why opposition ruled states are playing partner for biometric UID? -Part X

 

Is Nandan Nilekani acting as an agent of non-state actors? –Part XI

 

Aadhaar and UPA govt's obsession for private sector benefits–Part XII
 

CIA-funded MongoDB partners with UIDAI to handle Aadhaar data –Part XIII

 

Are Indians being used as guinea pigs of biometric technology companies? -Part XIV
 

Aadhaar: Is the biometric data of human body immortal and ageless? Part XV
 

Aadhaar: The propaganda of transnational vested interests –Part XVI

 

Aadhaar: Pakistan handed over, India giving database on a platter– Part XVII
 

Engineered row in US-India relations, an attention diversion tactics of big brothers?—Part XVIII

 

Aadhaar: UIDAI and the ‘fifth column’ of Napoleon—Part XIX
 

Aadhaar: Turning citizens into subjects through social control technology companies –PartXX

 

Why Kejriwal govt in Delhi should abandon biometric Aadhaar?—Part XXI

 

Aadhaar for LPG: Oil companies, Ministry of Petroleum & UIDAI disobeying Supreme Court order–Part XXII

 

Why Vasundhara Raje should immediately withdraw circulars making Aadhaar mandatory -Part XXIII

 

How Congress has been proven wrong on biometric Aadhaar and NPR -Part XXIV

 

Aadhaar, NPR, UN resolution and deafening silence of political parties –Part XXV
 

Is Congress converging UID numbers of EVMs and Indian voters? –Part XXVI

 

Is our political class trapped by economic hit men from database empires? -Part XXVII
 

Aadhaar & database risks: Will India evaporate to become nobody in our life time? –Part XXIX

 

How BJP’s Yashwant Sinha is wrong about ‘biometric’ National Population Register –Part XXX

 

Aadhaar: The lies of Nilekani and Congress over biometric profiling –Part XXXI

 

Why the PMO is hiding behind Election Commission on Nilekani’s resignation? -Part XXXII

 

(Gopal Krishna is member of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), which is campaigning against surveillance technologies since 2010)

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    COMMENTS

    Sandeep

    5 years ago

    Whether UIDAI has the provision to update the address in the database, whenever there is a change in address, to use Aadhaar number as proof of address? Has the “tool” promised July 2011 available now? This reply is far from the truth.

    Dear Author, if you have Aadhaar, go and update your info here.
    http://resident.uidai.net.in/update-data...

    • Whether any process has been defined to use Aadhaar numbers on electoral roll database?

    It's EPIC database, why would UIDAI define the process for them, yes if EPIC wants to seed aadhaar into their database for data cleansing, UIDAI offered technical know how..what's wrong here??


    • Whether UIDAI can include EPIC numbers in Aadhaar database?...Aadhaar is just an uniqueness identifier and have no provision to store individual department data, NPR is tasked to store this type of information. Aadhaar is for everyone who resides in India and not just for citizens of India and hence having UID doesn't qualify you to get Voter ID.


    Aadhaar is not a basis to get Voter ID Card and respective department must do their due diligence before issuing Voter ID but at the same seeding UID no. into EPIC database will help in cutting down duplicate and ghost voters in the voter list and hence eliminate fraud voter and politicians like Sharad Pawar will not be able to instruct voters to vote twice.


    It seems like Moneylife is out on a mission to mold any news against aadhaar but it's there to stay in the form of UID or NPR no. whoever comes to power.

    REPLY

    krishna

    In Reply to Sandeep 5 years ago

    Kindly note that you have missed the core contention in the article and taken out a paragraph out of its context. It was promised that "The UID number will not contain intelligence. In older identity systems, it was customary to load the ID number with information related to the date of birth, as well as the location of the person." If that was/is indeed the case why has address been included in it like "older identity system". Isn't inclusion of address providing locational intelligence? Indeed UID and NPR is one and the same but political parties and Indians have been taken for a ride "as per approved strategy".

    Sandeep

    In Reply to krishna 5 years ago

    Krishna

    Location intelligence has nothing to do with Correspondence address of a person provided to UID. UID is a valid e KYC document and address is part of required KYC information.

    You have lost the plot of your"locational intelligence comment when you mentioned "older identity system". You are ok giving your address for ration card/passport/driving license/voter card etc. but you have trouble giving same information to UID/NPR. By the way IB is not taking UID/NPR address as proof of address because they need actual point of time current location and UID address is just a correspondence address.

    Locational intelligence and correspondence address has nothing to do with each other but if you just care about locational intelligence then you should be the first one to throw away your Smart phone, your laptop/desktop with internet/ TV because they all transmit your point of time location to whoever needs/wants it. By smartphone in your pocket, your friend(good/bad your luck!) can check which restaurant you're having lunch and who else is with you from your circle.

    I don't say you don't criticize UID or NPR, you do and you must do to pin point areas of improvement and offer your suggestion but don't try to misguide people by manipulating any new against UID/NPR that has so much potential to weed out corruption/vested interest in government system.

    Single/Unique Identity Management System (UID/NPR whatever prevails in political credit claim ) is one of THE BEST things that has happened for the betterment of common people after independence.

    Why the PMO is hiding behind Election Commission on Nilekani’s resignation? -Part 31
    Strange as it may sound, but the PMO transferred an RTI application seeking correspondence about Nandan Nilekani’s resignation as chairman of UIDAI, to the Election Commission! The EC doesn’t even have a locus standi in the matter
     
    “A commercial company enslaved a nation comprising two hundred millions. Tell this to a man free from superstition and he will fail to grasp what these words mean. What does it mean that thirty thousand people, not athletes, but rather weak and ordinary people, have enslaved two hundred millions of vigorous, clever, capable, freedom-loving people? Do not the figures make it clear that not the English, but the Indians, have enslaved themselves?
    - Leo Tolstoy in his letter to Gandhi, reproduced by latter on 19 November 1909
     
    The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on 25 March 2014 was asked through an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act to share the following documents:
    1. Copy of Mr Nandan Nilekani’s appointment letter to UIDAI
    2. Copy of Mr Nandan Nilekani’s resignation letter from UIDAI
    3. Copy of acceptance of this resignation from the Prime Minister
    4. Copies of all file documents and correspondence relating to Mr Nilekani right up to his resignation
     
    The RTI applicant is not seeking any election related correspondence or any classified document but in its reply dated 1 April 2014, the PMO has send a document titled Office Memorandum (No. RTI/1883/2014-PMR) signed by SE Rizvi, Deputy Secretary and Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), stating that the RTI application was received On 28 March 2014 but the same has been “transferred under section 6 (3) (ii) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, for action as appropriate.” This Office Memorandum is addressed to Secretary, Election Commission of India! Addressing the RTI applicant, it states, “You are advised to approach the above public authority for further information regarding the matter. Response in respect of this office, if any, will be provided in due course.”
     
    It is intriguing as to why is PMO is transferring the RTI application regarding correspondence Nilekani, chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on the issue of biometric unique identity (UID)/ Aadhaar program and the PMO to the Election Commission, which has no locus standi in the matter?      
     
    In another reply dated 17 May 2013 to an RTI application wherein details of the process of de-duplication that has been put in place by National Population Register (NPR) in relation to UIDAI, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which is implementing the biometric data based NPR, the Office of Registrar General, NPR Division, MHA replied, “The NPR data is being sent to UIDAI for de-duplication and generation of Aadhaar number. Since the processes are being done by UIDAI, it is therefore transferred to UIDAI.”
     
    When information was sought about the legal provisions and rules, which allows collection of 10 fingerprints and two IRIS scan of citizens, the MHA replied, “The Citizenship Act, 1955 empowers the Government to prescribe the procedures to be followed in compulsory registration of the citizens of India. As per this provision, the Government has decided to create National Population Register –a Register of usual Residents as the first step towards the creation of the National Register of Indian Citizens. Section 18 of the said Act empowers Central Government to make Rules to carry out the purposes of the Act and to issue guidelines to the State Governments. Under this provision, the Government has issued Guidelines to the States laying down the process to be followed for creating the NPR. The process includes collection of data by house-to-house enumeration, collection of biometrics (10 fingerprint, 2 Iris prints and photograph); de-duplication of the data by UIDAI; publication and invitation of claims and objections; vetting by Gram Sabha/ Ward Committees; vetting by local officials and police and then finalizing the NPR database.”  
     
    To a question as to whether NPR will issue identity cards or number to those who are registered, the MHA replied, “A proposal for issuance of Resident Identity Cards (RIC) to all usual residents of age 18 years and above under the scheme of National Population Register (NPR) in the country is under consideration of the Government.”
     
    In response to the question on RIC on whether the RIC card, will bear the number of NPR or UIDAI, MHA replied, “The proposed RIC would bear the Aadhaar number.” When MHA was asked to state the detailed process by which NPR differentiates between citizens and non-citizens at the time of registration and generation of number, it replied “NPR is a register of usual residents, which would contain citizens as well as non-citizens.” The RTI applications were filed by Qaneez-e-Fatemah Sukhrani.
     
    It is evident from these replies that Aadhaar is seeded into the NPR and the proposed RIC cards but those who went to enroll for UID/ Aadhaar were not informed about it. Even the National Identification Authority of India (NIDAI) Bill for UID/ Aadhaar, which was introduced in the Parliament and which was trashed by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, did not reveal it. Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance either erred or remained in dark about how biometric database based Aadhaar is the backbone of the proposed RIC cards based on biometric NPR database. The biometric database based NPR has rightly been opposed by BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi in his letter to Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister.
     
    In his letter Mr Modi wrote, “…there is no mention of capturing biometrics in the Citizenship Act or Citizenship Rules, 2009”. In the absence of any provision in the Citizenship Act, 1955, or rules for capturing biometrics, it is difficult to appreciate how the capture of biometrics is a statutory requirement. Photography and biometrics is only mentioned in the Manual of Instructions for filling up the NPR household schedule and even in that there is no mention of capturing the iris”.
     
    After Gujarat stopped collection of biometric data, the then Union Minister of Home Affairs, P Chidambaram sent a letter to Mr Modi in August 2011, pointing out that creation of the NPR was a “statutory requirement” under the Citizenship Act, 1955, and “once initialised, (it) has to be necessarily completed”. The MHA had also requested the chief minister to instruct state government officers to cooperate in creation of the NPR. This was when the entire media, citizens and the political class was hoodwinked into believing that there was a rift between Mr Nilekani’s UIDAI under Planning Commission and Dr C Chandramouli’s NPR under MHA when Mr Chidambaram headed it.     
     
    The replies from the PMO and MHA need to be read together. RK Singh, former Home Secretary who is contesting on BJP’s ticket from Arrah in Bihar should enlighten his own party’s leadership and the citizens of the country about the ulterior motives of Aadhaar and NPR and whether or not he agrees with Modi’s views against them. There is a compelling reason for the opposition parties to raise the issue of non-disclosure by PMO of the correspondence between him and Nilekani on the issue of biometric database.
     
    Supreme Court orders of 23 September 2013 and 24 March 2014 besides Punjab & Haryana High Court’s order on biometric Aadhaar number that is linked to Aadhaar number generating NPR vindicates the statement of concern seeking stoppage of biometric profiling of Indians issued by 17 eminent citizens like Justice VR Krishna Iyer, Justice AP Shah, Aruna Roy,  Prof Upendra Baxi, Bezwada Wilson, Prof Uma Chakravarty and others in September 2010.
     
    It is noteworthy that Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, and Belgium agreed as per Prüm Convention, 2005 that to provide each other mutual online access to their database of police fingerprint and DNAs. Every country can match fingerprints and DNA data with the other countries databases and see whether information on that person is available there. The mere fact of a person being registered in such a database has seeds of troubles.  The Wikileaked US embassy cables revealed that as early as 2006 the US government began discussions with Germany on what parts of the Prüm Convention “might be fruitful for the US to pursue with Germany as a prelude to an agreement with the Prüm group of EU countries.”
     
    Such databases can unleash rampant extrajudicial killings. The creation of similar databases in India by Planning Commission and MHA is fraught with genocidal ramifications of minorities of all ilk like migrants, political opponents, ethnic minorities and religious minorities. 
     
    It may be recalled that Press Information Bureau (PIB), Government of India had issued a statement of Planning Commission dated 23 July, 2009 on Nandan Nilekani taking over as Chairman of UIDAI.
     
    The PIB release had stated, “Replying to queries of the media persons, Shri Nilekani said that data base of residents from various sources will be used for biometric identification. Authority will include best available technical experts from private and Government sector both.” It is still not clear as to which law authorized him to use data base of residents from various sources for biometric identification. Does UIDAI have the legal mandate to source such information from pre-existing database of Indian residents?
     
    The release read, “Shri Nilekani said Unique Identification Number will ensure multifarious benefits by enabling different applications. Unique number will include personal and demographic detail of the residents.”
    Beyond mere enrolment of unwitting Indians and non-Indians, there is nothing on record to show that the “multifarious benefits” has been ensured by UID/ Aadhaar number.  
     
    While Planning Commission issued a release when Nilekani took over as chief of UIDAI, information available in public does not indicate that PIB issued any statement of the Commission on his resignation. 
     
    UIDAI chairman, Nilekani submitted his resignation letter to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, three days after formally joining Indian National Congress to contest Lok Sabha polls. Nilekani joined Congress, a day after the party named him as its candidate from Bangalore South. "Yes, I have resigned today," Nilekani told PTI on 13 March 2014. Nilekani is contesting against five-time BJP MP Ananth Kumar, who is also the chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs and a former union minister. In violation of Model Code of Conduct that is in force during the elections, Nilekani advertised himself at the cost of public money.
     
    In October 2012, in an interview with McKinsey & Company, Nilekani said, “Our goal, our vision, is by 2014 to have at least half a billion people on the system, which will make it one of the world’s largest online ID infrastructures. So that’s one metric of success. The second is we’d like to see two or three major applications that use this ID infrastructure. One of them is electronic benefit transfer, where governments will pay pensions, scholarships, or whatever entitlements by cash. And the third is [that] the mobile industry will use [the ID infrastructure] for verification”.
     
    “In the US, to me, the two big examples are the Internet, which was originally conceived as a defense project, and GPS. Again, it was a defense project. Both these things, though they began as [part of] a government defense infrastructure, today are the basis for huge innovation,” he added.
     
    Notably, Nilekani is aware that the substratum of the “world’s largest online ID infrastructures” is Internet which is in total control of US Government and US companies. Shouldn’t Nilekani be asked whether or Internet remains a defense project that is deeply allied with National Security Agency (NSA)? Did anyone hear Nilekani express his views on NSA’s surveillance on India and world leaders?      
     
    In such a backdrop, it does seem strange that PMO is withholding the correspondence it had with Nilekani. But it does seem quite a bizarre spectacle that a theatre personality like Girish Karnad and literary figure like Dr UR Ananthamurthy are campaigning for Nilekani who is creating architecture of Database based surveillance state through biometric mapping.
     
    Nilekani holds the view that “even before we have property rights, you need identity rights” for “formal capitalism”. He has disclosed that he is in the process of building a coalition of the willing to outwit the coalition of those who are unwilling. His election campaign and the studied silence of political parties on the issue reveals who all are part of his coalition.  
     
    A commercial company enslaved a nation comprising two hundred millions only because Her Majesty’s company had mapped India and Indians in an unprecedented mapping exercise. This was attempted by imperial companies of Portuguese and French origin but it was the imperial company with British royal charter that triumphed for good.
     
    Hasn’t Nilekani, his acolytes and his political and corporate patrons been undertaking similar exercises for commercial companies based in US and France, a country of Five Eyes Alliance?
     
    Or will PMO and Nilekani have us believe that US and French companies are working to safeguard the defense interests of India because their interests have historically remained same as India’s and NSA’s surveillance on Indian leaders and officials is a benign act of their benediction?   

     

    You may also want to read…

     

    Why biometric identification of citizens must be resisted? Part I
     

    Biometric identification is modern day enslavement -Part II
     

    Biometric profiling, including DNA, is dehumanising -Part III
     

    Marketing and advertising blitzkrieg of biometric techies and supporters -Part IV
     

    History of technologies reveals it is their owners who are true beneficiaries -Part V
     

    UID's promise of service delivery to poor hides IT, biometrics industry profits –Part VI
     

    Technologies and technology companies are beyond regulation? -Part VII
     

    Surveillance through biometrics-based Aadhaar –Part VIII
     

    Narendra Modi biometrically profiled. What about Congress leaders?-Part IX
     

    Aadhaar: Why opposition ruled states are playing partner for biometric UID? -Part X

     

    Is Nandan Nilekani acting as an agent of non-state actors? –Part XI

     

    Aadhaar and UPA govt's obsession for private sector benefits–Part XII
     

    CIA-funded MongoDB partners with UIDAI to handle Aadhaar data –Part XIII

     

    Are Indians being used as guinea pigs of biometric technology companies? -Part XIV
     

    Aadhaar: Is the biometric data of human body immortal and ageless? Part XV
     

    Aadhaar: The propaganda of transnational vested interests –Part XVI

     

    Aadhaar: Pakistan handed over, India giving database on a platter– Part XVII
     

    Engineered row in US-India relations, an attention diversion tactics of big brothers?—Part XVIII

     

    Aadhaar: UIDAI and the ‘fifth column’ of Napoleon—Part XIX
     

    Aadhaar: Turning citizens into subjects through social control technology companies –PartXX

     

    Why Kejriwal govt in Delhi should abandon biometric Aadhaar?—Part XXI

     

    Aadhaar for LPG: Oil companies, Ministry of Petroleum & UIDAI disobeying Supreme Court order–Part XXII

     

    Why Vasundhara Raje should immediately withdraw circulars making Aadhaar mandatory -Part XXIII

     

    How Congress has been proven wrong on biometric Aadhaar and NPR -Part XXIV

     

    Aadhaar, NPR, UN resolution and deafening silence of political parties –Part XXV
     

    Is Congress converging UID numbers of EVMs and Indian voters? –Part XXVI

     

    Is our political class trapped by economic hit men from database empires? -Part XXVII
     

    Aadhaar & database risks: Will India evaporate to become nobody in our life time? –Part XXIX

     

    How BJP’s Yashwant Sinha is wrong about ‘biometric’ National Population Register –Part XXX

     

    Aadhaar: The lies of Nilekani and Congress over biometric profiling –Part XXXI

     

    (Gopal Krishna is member of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), which is campaigning against surveillance technologies since 2010)

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    COMMENTS

    praveen sakhuja

    5 years ago

    I do not think there should be any hassle for PM to run and take shelter. Publication of two books speaks in loud and wide for our beloved PM. He should be spared for sin committed under influence of politicians which he was never and will not be able to adopt those habits.

    Aadhaar: If you have tears, why shed them for the UID?

    When asked how Nilekani-led UIDAI could let foreign companies get their hands on the data, we are told that they had no means of knowing that they are foreign companies! Why, then, are there those who mourn the disintegrating and, hopefully, the demise of this project?

    Here is a question for those who retain their faith in the unique identification (UID) project: what is it about the project that has them believe that it should, somehow, be salvaged?
     

    In December 2011, the parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance (SCoF) returned the National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010, and recommended that the UID project be sent back to the drawing board. On 23 September 2013 the Supreme Court directed that no one may be denied any service only because they do not have a UID number; and, when the order was deliberately disregarded, the Court ordered the government to withdraw the instructions that made the UID mandatory. That was on 24 March 2014. On 21 February 2014, the Petroleum Ministry delinked the UID from LPG subsidy. That is, all three organs of state – the Parliament, the judiciary and the executive - have been remarkably unenthusiastic about this project.
     

    The project was marketed as an innocuous game changer. It would provide an identity to every person, especially the poor; and that would lead to plugging leakages and curbing corruption. The touching innocence of this claim has not managed to keep off questions about the consequences of databasing an entire citizenry, the implications of not having a law that covers the project, privacy and personal security, surveillance, data security, flawed processes, unrestrained outsourcing, the unseemly ambitions it provokes in police agencies to get the data into their hands ….. the list keeps growing.
     

    By now it is plain that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has had little patience with either process or law. Here are some illustrations:
     

    The UIDAI was not established to create a database of its own. It was “to limit its activities to creation of the initial database from the Electoral Roll/ EPIC data and verification and validation of the same through BPL and PDS data and updation of electoral rolls.” This was the decision of the EGoM, which met on 4 November 2008 to decide what would be in the notification dated 28 January 2009 that set up the UIDAI. There are multiple databases within the government that carry identity information, and the UIDAI was to work at building a cleaned up identity database from existing databases. The EGoM was categorical: that the “UIDAI may not directly undertake creation of any additional database….”
     

    Yet, once Nandan Nilekani had been appointed Chairperson of the UIDAI in July 2009, a Cabinet Committee on the UID was formed with the Prime Minister as the Chairperson, which gave him the go ahead to create his own data base, independent of other governmental data bases. First, it was allowed 100 million enrolments; then 200 million. Then in an inexplicable, and still unexplained, twist after the Home Minister had found their process faulty and unreliable, it was extended to 600 million. In the first four years, any time that either Mr Nilakeni or RS Sharma, the UIDAI’s first Director General, was asked where they got the legal authority to take the personal data of people, they would point to the 2011 notification as the source of legality for this exercise. This was, of course, not true at all. They were in fact breaching the boundaries the notification had set for them. It is also interesting that Mr Nilekani had started proclaiming, very early in the exercise, even before he had been given the mandate, that the UIDAI would enroll 600 million people by 2014.
     

    Mr Nilekani was a man in a hurry. What resulted was rampant outsourcing, untested processes (including the introducer system), brushing aside concerns about the possibilities and improbabilities of biometrics across a population and across time, and doing away with the imperative of legality. He says he has got his 600 million people. May be. And, again, maybe not. But should such callous discarding of the process and law not matter because it was Nandan Nilekani? Should corporate icons not be restricted by law or process? These are not just rhetorical questions, but arise from the extraordinary treatment given to a collateral entrant into government.
     

    Biometrics
     

    Nandan Nilakeni used three terms to describe the UID project – unique, universal, ubiquitous. Uniqueness was dependent on biometrics. The decision to use fingerprints and iris was made before the UIDAI had any means of knowing whether biometrics could work in India. This is what they said in the “notice inviting applications for hiring of biometrics consultant” in January/ February 2010 after they had decided on fingerprints and iris: “While the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) documents the fact that the accuracy of biometric matching is extremely dependent on demographics and environmental conditions, there is a lack of a sound study that documents the accuracy achievable on Indian demographics (i.e., larger percentage of rural population) and in Indian environmental conditions (i.e., extremely hot and humid climates and facilities without air-conditioning).” In fact, it went on, “we could not find any credible study assessing the achievable accuracy in any of the developing countries.”
     

    Two years later, Mr Nilekani was to say, in his talk at the World Bank in April 2013: “nobody has done this before, so we are going to find out soon whether it will work or not”.
     

    But Brutus is an honourable man.
     

    If the UID number will be on a range of databases, and it can act as a bridge between different silos of information, what does it do about intrusive curiosity? This is how Nandan Nilakeni thinks the UID number should be deployed. In a conversation with Vinod Khosla, and as reported on the NASSCOM website, he said: “There can be an entire Aadhaar- based reputation system in the country”, adding that “besides a credit history, the UID number could also help build health or skills records of Indians”. And this is just the beginning.
     

    The UIDAI says enrolment is `voluntary’ while working to make it mandatory – that will swell its data base, fast. It has gone to the Court in the cases that challenge the project and iterated and reiterated the claim that it is voluntary; but, when the Court said, okay, then we will just say that it is voluntary, the UIDAI pleaded with the Court that agencies be allowed to `insist’ on the UID.
     

    The UIDAI sounds like it will be providing a service, but it is openly pursuing a revenue model which will profit from our data. There is talk of security of data; but the data is handed over to be managed by companies that are close to the CIA, Homeland Security and the French government. And, when asked how they could let foreign companies of such provenance get their hands on the data, we are told that they had no means of knowing that they are foreign companies!
     

    Why, then, are there those who mourn the disintegrating and, hopefully, the demise of this project?

     

    You may also want to read…
     

    UID/Aadhaar series

     

    Aadhaar: Private ownership of UID data- Part I

     

    Aadhaar: Who owns the UID database? –Part II

     

    (Dr Usha Ramanathan is an independent law researcher and has been critically following the policy and practices of the UIDAI since 2009)

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    COMMENTS

    Mahesh S Bhatt

    5 years ago

    Our lawmakers have so many laws & so poor implementation records that courts are having pile up backlog of more than 30 years across India.

    Friends this is blatant Security violation but Indian Telecom sector doesnot have good safety security measures to protect ISP's & Database servers from hacks.

    Google cooly captures our street details & uploads on thier GPS services which we shall pay as our cops are busy collecting haftas / towing vehicles unreasonably.

    Simple law on fine on spitting /urination should have been addressed by local municipal sanitation support like waste paper basket/toliet's.

    Mumbai Municipality claims to have 1500 crores reserves but no MLC thinks of the same.Sulabh Sauchalaya is good private NGO bearing the load & its wilting.

    Simple suggestion every bridge should have 2 sanitation toilet's.

    M R BANTWAL

    5 years ago

    Mr Nandaan Nilekani has spent few crores on making UID Numbers. Indeed it is desastrous, The Government and Moily Petroleum Minister has rolled back the subsidy on LPG, after giving 12 cylinders from 9 i a year. What is the benefit to the Government. Setting up committees and eGoms and then cancelling them. Those committees do not meet once during their tenure of 3 or 6 months but they earn money and go home happily. The the Govt, increases the prices of everything to earn more revenue to the Govt to spend it lavisgly

    Mandar Kulkarni

    5 years ago

    UID Aadhaar has been a disaster for India. It does not serve any national interest, it serves interests of foreign intelligence agencies. Aadhaar is threat to national security. It is illegal and has no scientific/technological foundation to it. It has been a huge wastage of money so far. UPA government and all those responsible for imposting this scheme on us should be made accountable to recover some of the losses. #SayNoToUID . Next govt is likely to scrap this project completely by removing any budget allocated to this.

    Korath

    5 years ago

    When most of the 3 lakh crore subsidies are leaked out the author has no issue. However, she is bothered about 99.9999% plus accuracy of Aadhaar. Her question is why is Aadhaar not 100% accurate? She chooses different scales for different identities by design or by default? Doesn't have any problem with Asaram Bapu having hundreds of Bank accounts? But the author is a honorable woman.

    REPLY

    David Moss

    In Reply to Korath 5 years ago

    1. Korath says “When most of the 3 lakh crore subsidies are leaked out the author has no issue. However, she is bothered about 99.9999% plus accuracy of Aadhaar. Her question is why is Aadhaar not 100% accurate?”.

    2. Nice try, Korath, but no cigar.

    3. Usha Ramanathan has said nothing of the sort. Your claim is false.

    4. You allege that Aadhaar is “99.9999% plus” accurate. What does that mean? As it stands, nothing.

    5. Let’s be helpful. Let’s try to give your statement some meaning.

    6. Aadhaar promises unique identification. Are you saying that it has largely achieved that but, in this imperfect world, there might be a tiny number of duplicates on the population register? That would be meaningful. But impossible to prove. India would drown in a sea of false positives in the attempt.

    7. The sea-of-false-positives argument comes from Professor Daugman, the inventor of biometrics based on irisprints. He is, naturally, a supporter of biometrics technology. But even he says forget trying to prove uniqueness, it’s impossible.

    8. Alan Gelb and Julia Clark of the Center for Global Development are supporters of biometrics and, specifically, supporters of Aadhaar, please see ‘Performance Lessons from India’s Universal Identification Program’, http://international.cgdev.org/sites/def...

    9. Even they say that UIDAI had to “relax” the false negative identification rate in order to keep the number of false positives down, below drowning level (footnote 7, p.5). UIDAI should change its name to MIDAI, the Multiple Identity Authority of India.

    10. So that can’t be what you mean when you say that Aadhaar is “99.9999% plus” accurate. You can’t mean that almost every record on the population register is unique. It’s not just that the figures haven’t been independently audited. They can’t be audited. It would take too long.

    11. Aadhaar also promises that it verify people’s identity reliably when needed, e.g. when claiming food benefits, or fuel or employment. Perhaps, Korath, you are saying that Aadhaar will be very accurate when it comes to verification. That would be meaningful. But how do you know?

    12. The only way to keep false positives down is to let false negatives rise. That trade-off is accepted throughout the biometrics world. If UIDAI have been “relaxing” false negatives to keep false positives down to near zero, then you can expect false negatives to go through the roof. Benefit claimants will be told falsely by the biometrics verification system that they are not who they say they are. That’s a false negative. That’s no food, no fuel and no job.

    13. What does “through the roof” mean? The UK Passport Service Biometrics Enrolment Trial suggested that the rate of false negative verification is about 20% if you’re using flat print fingerprints. The US Department of Homeland Security relies on flat print fingerprints in its US-VISIT border protection system and about 20% of primary inspections have to be backed up with secondary inspections. It’s not much to go on. The biometrics industry doesn’t like publishing performance figures. But it looks as if about one-in-five verification attempts will fail if you rely on flat print fingerprints. That’s 20% of the benefits population ready to riot thanks to Aadhaar.

    14. Aadhaar promises to use irisprints as well as fingerprints. We used to use irisprints at UK airports for border control. We’ve dropped them. Too expensive? Too slow? Too unreliable? We were never told but, one way and another, we don’t use irisprints any more. Will the same happen in India? It could.

    15. Korath, please read ‘Fundamental issues in biometric performance testing: A modern statistical and philosophical framework for uncertainty assessment’, http://biometrics.nist.gov/cs_links/ibpc...

    16. There you will find that biometrics is “out of statistical control”. Which means that it is not a science. Which means that its use is theatrical. Security based on mass consumer biometrics is security theatre. Food aid based on mass consumer biometrics is food aid theatre. Etc ...

    17. The Head of the UK Border Force gave evidence to Parliament on 15 November 2011, http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player... starting at 12:18.

    18. He said that flat print fingerprints were the ninth and lowest priority for his staff when verifying a traveller’s identity and when there are long queues which threaten safety and public order at airports and seaports it is sensible to stop using fingerprint procedures.

    19. He lost his job. For not sticking to the security theatre script.

    20. Aadhaar may be entertaining theatre. But to claim that it is “99.9999% plus” accurate is meaningless.

    MDT

    In Reply to Korath 5 years ago

    Korath,
    Thanks for your comment.
    Why is a biometric database required for cash transfer of subsidies? Hasn’t the US been crediting unemployment dole into SSN accounts, which have no biometrics, for over 70 years? UID is for all residents. Subsidies are for citizens. How would a government agency disbursing subsidies or a bank know whether a person with a UID number is a citizen or not?

    Now, WHY all this sudden rush for Aadhaar linked subsidies?
    This is because, direct cash transfers provide political mileage to rulers! According to a study by the World Bank (http://www.moneylife.in/article/direct-c... ) , voters respond to targeted cash transfers and these transfers can foster support for incumbents, thus making the case for designing political and legislative mechanisms that avoid successful anti-poverty schemes from being captured by political patronage.

    “In theory, anti-poverty programs such as conditional cash transfers (CCTs) may play a role in influencing individual political participation—in the form of voting—and preferences, strengthening democratic representation but also producing electoral rewards. For instance, by partly changing the economic circumstances of households, transfer receipts could persuade participant households to exercise their right to vote,” the study ‘Conditional Cash Transfers, Political Participation, and Voting Behaviour’, it says.

    http://www.moneylife.in/article/is-aadha...

    Regards,
    MDT

    Korath

    In Reply to MDT 5 years ago

    The subsidies cannot be leaked as it is targeted and reach the intended beneficiary. One identity one benefit. No impersonation possible.

    Korath

    5 years ago

    Fingerprinting has been in use by many agencies in the past, for example , the motor vehicle department, passport , Visa, RSBY etc. But no issue was raised by the honorable author. When UIDAI uses biometrics to empower our billion plus citizens and save them from impersonation, then she has problem. But Author is a honorable woman.

    REPLY

    MDT

    In Reply to Korath 5 years ago

    Korath,
    Thanks for your comment.

    The government claims that apart from providing an identity, the Aadhaar numbers would enable better delivery of services and effective governance. Would this imply that someone from Tembhali village in north Maharashtra's Nandurbar district will automatically receive food under the public distribution system (PDS), when the middlemen have looted the food before it can even reach the shop?

    What's more serious is that the government does not say anywhere that the Aadhaar numbers will be issued to the citizens of India. Instead, it mentions that the Aadhaar numbers will be issued to "individuals residing in India and to certain other classes of individuals". This means that immigrants from neighbouring countries, residing illegally in India, would be able to procure such numbers too, akin to the ration card (PDS Card), and become citizens of the country.
    http://www.moneylife.in/article/nothing-...

    But may be those interested souls who try to lambast anyone raising valid questions about UIDAI, Nilekani and Aadhaar are honorable human beings!

    Regards,
    MDT

    Anil Nair

    5 years ago

    The damage has been done, the only way to stop any thing more is by just erasing the data, before it falls into wrong hands.

    REPLY

    Sandeep

    In Reply to Anil Nair 5 years ago

    I am assuming you'll never use any smartphone that has finger print scanner as a feature as someone may misuse your bio-metrics and you'll never use any credit card because credit card processing company may be outside India and you'll never wath any smart TV as you can be tracked what you watched at what time and you'll never buy a smart car that is GPS and WiFI enabled because your movement can be tracked, wake up bro!

    MDT

    In Reply to Sandeep 5 years ago

    Sandeep,
    Thanks for your comment. However, we are finding it difficult to digest that somebody like you going on bashing each and every article published at Moneylife. That too by claiming and providing links of UIDAI, which always has shied from disclosing information even under the RTI.
    Any vested interest, Sandeep, that may have been hurt due to the truth coming out in the open?
    Coming back to your question (although these are the exact set of question all newbies from UIDAI try to put time and again), finger print as used in smart phone (iPhone to be specific) is just smallar part of biometrics that is being collected illegally by UIDAI agents. For others like Credit card, Smart TV, smart Car, GPS, I have the choice to chose or reject. In case of UIDAI, there is no choice. It is mandatory to give finger prints of all 10 fingers and iris scan of both eyes. So therefor, if my smart phone or credit card is compromised, I can "cancel" it and get a new one. Is this the same for Aadhaar? Can you cancel and get a new Aadhaar? Is there any provision for cancelling it on the UIDAI site that you always show as the 'gospel truth'?
    Regards,
    MDT

    Sandeep

    In Reply to MDT 5 years ago

    MDT

    now you have come to the point, vested interest??!! how about Moneylife??
    No one with vested interest will ever love any unique identity management system, let alone aadhaar or NPR...no thief likes the bulb at street light, same goes with people having vested interests, they don't want any system where they can be tracked by a reference no. like UID/NPR no.
    vested interest all I have is I want to see how soon ghost, duplicate and middlemen beneficiaries gets eliminated from system and there is fear of being caught/tracked down if you commit anything wrong/against the law. Just an example if a rapist has a fear that his semen sample (DNA mapping…future of biometrics) can be identified/matched against a database that will show up his profile with home address, will he dare to open his zip?? Embrace technology, don’t embarrass it.
    I am not newbie to technology/UID and no way linked to UID as well. It's just that I have been in the field for almost 10 years and do understand the concept behind relational database
    just like if you want to use Credit card, Smart TV, smart Car, GPS, you also have a choice to not get UIDAI/NPR. time you used GPS, the time you watched that smart TV, the time you used that credit card that history is there forever to stay, you don't have right to delete that. just stay home be happy!! time you dump technology, it dumps you!!
    Aadhaar/NPR cannot be replicated that's why vested interests are crying since 2009??
    comment about bashing each article on ML, I just commented 1-2 artcile; at max 3 I guess and you have starting singing that I have been commenting every article, just imagine what ML has been doing since Aadhaar/NPR has started, hiring a team to manipulate every content against aadhaar??? if you don't like my comment I don't mind saving my time and ignoring ML for good...

    MDT

    In Reply to Sandeep 5 years ago

    Sandeep,
    Thanks for your comment.
    Yes, Moneylife do have a vested interest of protecting innocent, gullible common man or saver from falling prey to 'vested interests' be it a tech czar or anyone. Since, I mentioned you are a newbie, let me tell you about Moneylife group.
    Moneylife group empower individual to invest and spend wisely by offering hard facts, insightful opinions, unbiased options and useful tips. Moneylife, launched in March 2006 is driven primarily by the interests of customers and investors. This is evident in our long track record of reporting unbiased facts and opinion, innovative analysis and non-profit initiatives. Moneylife is among the most ethical media companies and is known for calling a spade a spade. So this is Moneylife's vested interest.
    Coming back to you other points, all the time you have been quoting only UIDAI site, whereas there are thousands of research papers, articles written by experts in the field of ID system, biometrics etc., available on the Internet.
    1. About a century ago, Mahatma Gandhi started the world famous 'Satyagraha' in order to oppose the identification scheme of the government in South Africa. Now if tracking through ID is such a nice concept, according to you, why then even Gandhiji opposed it? That too a century ago? On 22 August 1906, the South African government published a draft Asiatic Law Amendment Ordinance. The Ordinance required all Indians in the Transvaal region of South Africa, eight years and above, to report to the Registrar of Asiatics and obtain, upon the submission of a complete set of fingerprints, a certificate which would then have to be produced upon demand.
    Since the late nineteenth century, fingerprint identification methods have been used by police agencies around the world to identify suspected criminals as well as the victims of crime. Knowing the impact of the Ordinance and effective criminalisation of the entire community, Gandhi then decided to challenge it. Calling the Ordinance a 'Black Act' he mobilised around 3,000 Indians in Johannesburg who took an oath not to submit to a degrading and discriminatory piece of legislation. This was the first time the world witnessed 'Satyagraha' or a non-resistance movement that later become a phenomenon in India's freedom struggle.
    2. When the beneficiary will get actual cash in hand?
    The UPA government is pushing forward the direct cash transfer to the beneficiary’s bank account. This means, people will need to reach banks or ATMs for withdrawing cash. According to National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) there were over 1.04 lakh ATMs in the country. The only problem is that the majority of these ATMs are installed in cities or areas with dense population. Thus, unless banks go out of their way and install ATMs in rural areas, the financially excluded residents have to be dependent on the banks, especially on the public sector banks. For example, a Kalawati from a remote village may end up spending a day for getting the cash for subsidy from her bank, which may be mere Rs100 or Rs200. But then, the UPA government is just sending the cash to her account through Aadhaar, while withdrawing and using it to buy food at market rate is her responsibility!
    Another aspect of this whole approach is the govt may be giving money in bank accounts, but it will never assure food supply. The Kalawati, who used to buy food from PDS shop will now have to shell out more money to buy the same food from open market. Another example is a poor family earns about Rs5000-6000 per month. While it may shell out about 10% of this amount or Rs500 to buy LPG cylinder, when it comes to buying it at market rate (considering the family would get subsidy without fail in bank account), the family will have to shell out Rs1,200!
    Now leave your AC cabin and go to villages and check how many families there have a cash of over Rs1000 at any given point of time and you will know the uselessness of such high handed (read UID and DBTL) approach. But then why should you? You are not affected and your salary is credited in your bank account on time so why should you bother if the Kalawati receives food or no? Your aim is only to transfer the subsidy money, whether she gets it or no, is not your concern, right?
    3. Technology
    What technology you are talking about? Let’s say a financial product like Finnacle. This product has not come out in the market just like that. It involved several rigorous tests, pilots, trials and errors and field tests with particular sample size like number of customers that may use it. Only after going through all the process, it entered the market. If you have doubt on the process, you can check with Mr Nandan Nilekani!
    Now coming back to UID, where are the tests, field trials? According to test results of UIDAI’s biometrics-based Aadhaar project, there could be up to 15,000 false positives for every Indian resident. Moreover, this figure is just for identification and not for verification. For over 1.2 billion UID numbers, they have used data from just 20,000 people, in pairs, as the sample.
    David Moss, who spent eight years campaigning against the UK's National ID (NID) card scheme, has questioned the logic of the UIDAI and the government to depending on biometrics to produce the UID number. In a report titled, "India's ID card scheme-drowning in a sea of false positives", Mr Moss said, "those (the FPIR) conclusions do not follow from the evidence reported. Nothing in UIDAI's surprisingly low quality report suggests that it would be feasible to prove that each electronic identity on the Central ID Repository (CIDR) is unique. Not with a billion plus people on the database. Far from it, India can be confident, from the figures quoted in UIDAI's proof of concept trial report, that de-duplication could never be achieved."
    According to JT D'Souza, who analysed the pilot study conducted by the UIDAI, given the well-known lacunae in our infrastructure and massive demographics, biometrics as an ID will be a guaranteed failure and result in denial of service. He said, "The sum of false acceptance rate and false rejection rate (EER) reveals only part of the problem, which is rejection or acceptance within a short duration of enrolment. The bigger problem is ageing, including health and environment factors, which causes sufficient change to make biometrics completely unusable and requires very frequent re-enrolment." http://www.moneylife.in/article/how-uida...
    For the record, no one has ever issued IDs to such a huge population anywhere in the world. And whoever has tried to issue biometrics-based Ids, even for a small size, had to abandon or discard the idea altogether.
    4. It is admitted by UIDAI that there are “ownership risks (Ownership of the project by stakeholders), Technology risks (nowhere in the world a project of this size has been implemented) and privacy concerns (there may be groups raising privacy issues – many ID Projects in western countries have been stalled due to the opposition of privacy groups).
    It is quite astounding that none of the members of CCUIDAI or the GoM members, be it AK Antony, P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sushilkumar Shinde, Ajit Singh, Kapil Sibal, Praful Patel, V Kishore Chandra Deo or Jairam Ramesh have got themselves enrolled for either UID/Aadhaar or NPR. Notably, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, the political patrons of the project have chosen not to enroll and baptize themselves with so-called right to identity to them. Pranab Mukheree, who fathered the project and declares how he set it rolling in his bio-data is also conspicuous by refraining from enrolment like LK Advani, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Prakash Karat, Nitish Kumar or Arvind Kejriwal. None of the known editors of print and electronic media have enrolled themselves for it. No known social worker, be it Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy or Sandeep Pandey have endorsed it. No known judges, lawyers, jurists or academicians of the country have got themselves biometrically profiled under the project. In fact acclaimed scholars like Ashis Nandy have referred to UID number as prison number. Likes of whistleblowers such as AK Jain and Press Council of India member, Arun Kumar have debunked it. This demonstrates that the project does not enjoy the confidence of the senior most politicians, judges, scholars, activists and the legal fraternity of the country. http://www.moneylife.in/article/no-aadha...

    In the end, we would advise you to read more from experts like Usha Ramanathan, David Moss, Adv Shyam Divan (http://www.moneylife.in/article/aadhaar-... and the Supreme Court http://www.moneylife.in/article/aadhaar-... and some RTI exposes on UID/Aadhaar http://www.moneylife.in/article/rti-expo...

    Regards,
    MDT

    Sandeep

    In Reply to MDT 5 years ago

    See the approach at financial express..on how to criticize anything without being partial..

    http://www.financialexpress.com/news/col...




    1. Mahatma opposed it because it was a discriminatory practiced as it was targeting only Asian community...don't just mold anything to malign UID/NPR i.e. single identity system

    2. about banking newtwork...haven't you heard something about MicroATM yet? being used by banking correspondents also post office is coming up with bank license and currently disbursing payments by post office.

    about kalawati(name changed) in my village, she doesn't even know that village sarpanch has made her job narega card and filling his pocket at name of her. Also she hasn't seen ration shop open in last year or so forget about getting ration from depot at fair price. once her ration card is linked to UID/NPR she will get the money in his account and depot holder will go to her house to seek her business...just read about new PDS design at UID website, I sent u link already oh...u hate UID website..no problem you can go to narega or PDS portal

    http://www.pdsportal.nic.in/Files/Implem...

    LPG DBT design was faulty, I also commented and wrote to UIDAI to modify it as per PDS design so that consumer doesn't have to pay full price upfront and keep the check at gas dealer level.

    with grace of almighty and my hard work I reached AC office and also 5 start hotels but I do come from/studied at a village where internet is still a miracle. and have seen/experienced first hands things you might have just seen in movies or documentary at youtube only. That's why I support any single identity system that India can come up with doesn't matter UID or NPR that can remove middle men in form of sarpanch at village level or anyone in between government and common man living in a remote hut.

    3. no one reached mount Everest until two men dared to do and now people go for fun!! you don't master anything overnight, it take s time with focus on continuous improvement. Glider that was flown first is totally different from boeing Dreamliner but concept stays same. biometrics going through the same, DNA mappin is in waiting..

    4. once implemented everyone will come under the umbrella for their own convenience. Name any developed country that doesn't have a single reference point for entire country, USA(SSN), canada(SIN)...etc.

    it's enough for this article I guess, let's wait for next article hopefully there will be some better constructive thoughts

    MDT

    In Reply to Sandeep 5 years ago

    Sandeep,
    Thanks for posting your comment.

    1. Mahatma Gandhi opposed draft Asiatic Law Amendment Ordinance because it proposed stiff penalties, including deportation, for Indians who failed to comply with the terms of the Ordinance. Knowing the impact of the Ordinance and effective criminalisation of the entire community, Gandhi then decided to challenge it.

    Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), had been maintaining its UID or Aadhaar is 'free and voluntary' and is meant for 'residents'. However, in its premature implementation, in practice the scheme is gradually being made non-voluntary and mandatory. This is made worse by adoption of coercive pre-conditions by different government departments.

    The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the right to privacy within the right to life in Article 21, and any restriction must be justified through a rational and reasonable statutory procedure. UIDAI, as it presently stands, is prima facie unconstitutional for contravening the right to privacy without providing any safeguards, procedures and guidelines.

    2. Let us take the case of PDS, the elementary question is that there has to be a computer and a biometric, iris scan reader in each shop together with an internet connection that too in rural areas along with electricity to operate it. You also need internet connectivity in all the villages and towns. This is applicable for microATMs as well. As per microATM standards version 1.5.1 of IBA the device should not retain any record/data at its level and should connect with the server through Internet.

    What about electricity? Though power sector reforms were mooted way back in 2003 and unbundling of the electricity boards have taken place, yet no major investments are forthcoming and there is an acute shortage of power all around the country. Therefore on what basis are they going to provide the accessibility and operational issues that follow?
    In most of the rural areas the power supply is just for 3-4 hours if not less and we are still struggling to meet the demand. So without addressing this in the first place how can they go for advanced technology: So the building is built without the foundation? How can it sustain?

    Even in the NREGA programme, the problem is not about issuing an identity for daily workers. It is the attendance at the end of the day marked by the supervisor that provides the workers their wages. Similarly, in PDS shops, it is not the problem of identification of the end-user. Most leakages in the PDS do not take place at the last mile as hypothesised by UIDAI; instead, it is the big corrupt babus and middlemen who are involved in siphoning grains before they reach the ration shop itself.

    All the examples mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg - the non-sustainability of UID, but neither the Union government nor the highly qualified techies at UIDAI have time to take cognisance of these issues. Therefore, the old adage is correct in saying that if we forget history we are doomed to repeat it.

    3. People who reached Mount Everest first did through homework and practised hard to reach the Summit. What your beloved UIDAI had done? It just tried to enforce something without any homework, any scientific test with proper sample size, all the time maintaining it is "voluntary" and meant for those residents who don’t have any kind of ID proof. Why it is being shoved to middle-class people who already may have 14 other IDs?

    4. It has been found that the UID project is “full of uncertainty in technology as the complex scheme is built upon untested, unreliable technology and several assumptions”. This is a serious concern given that the project is about fixing identity through the use of technology, especially biometrics. Neither the Proof of Concept studies nor any assessment studies done by the UIDAI have been able to affirm the possibility of maintaining accuracy as the database expands to accommodate 1.2 billion people. The estimated failure of biometrics is expected to be as high as 15%.

    As I said earlier, you need to do a lot of reading and research before raising valid questions. So go and search if the US SSN or Canada SIN has biometrics attached with it or not?

    Next time, request you to do “proper” homework before posting comments like a newbie.

    Regards,
    MDT

    Sandeep

    5 years ago

    Here comes the next installment of UID bashing article by moneylife....sometime I just wonder would you dare to deny finger printing if you are in queue for VISA at embassy where it's for sure that you're data will go to foreign country

    REPLY

    Anil Nair

    In Reply to Sandeep 5 years ago

    So, u seem like travelling a lot. Have you ever been stopped and checked intentionally just because you belong to a country where every identity is on sale by culprits. You can own a Aadhaar card for FREE!.. That's what the Govt. said..!

    Sandeep

    In Reply to Anil Nair 5 years ago

    when every ID is for sale that's when something like UID/NPR becomes more important. I am glad you answered your own question. Aadhaar is still FREE if you go by proper channel.

    chan

    5 years ago

    Please dispose off UIDA as early as possible. I think this article should be last nail on the coffin of UIDA. Please don't write anything about Nilekani. After all, he is holy cow!!!

    David Moss

    5 years ago

    "... when asked how they could let foreign companies of such provenance get their hands on the data, we are told that [UIDAI] had no means of knowing that they are foreign companies ..."

    No means of knowing?

    1. Companies have IDs. It's quite easy to establish whether they are foreign.

    2. Mr Nilekani is a man of the world. He must know that Safran was French and that L-1 Identity Solutions was American. Everyone else knows that.

    3. I told him on 4 March 2011, when I sent him a pre-publication copy of http://dematerialisedid.com/BCSL/Drown.h...:

    "From: David Moss [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: 04 March 2011 15:43
    To: Nandan Nilekani
    Subject: Request for comment in advance of press release

    Nandan Nilekani
    Chairman
    Unique Identification Authority of India

    Dear Mr Nilekani

    I append below my review of UIDAI's proof of concept trial report.

    I intend to base a press release on it in 10 days time, on Monday 14 March 2011.

    Any response from UIDAI before that would be much appreciated,
    particularly if it is to point out errors in my sea-of-false-positives argument.

    I hope you find the review interesting and useful.

    Yours sincerely
    David Moss"

    David Moss

    5 years ago

    "... when asked how they could let foreign companies of such provenance get their hands on the data, we are told that [UIDAI] had no means of knowing that they are foreign companies ..."

    No means of knowing?

    1. Companies have IDs. It's quite easy to establish whether they are foreign.

    2. Mr Nilekani is a man of the world. He must know that Safran was French and that L-1 Identity Solutions was American. Everyone else knows that.

    3. I told him on 4 March 2011, when I sent him a pre-publication copy of http://dematerialisedid.com/BCSL/Drown.h...:

    "From: David Moss [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: 04 March 2011 15:43
    To: Nandan Nilekani
    Subject: Request for comment in advance of press release

    Nandan Nilekani
    Chairman
    Unique Identification Authority of India

    Dear Mr Nilekani

    I append below my review of UIDAI's proof of concept trial report.

    I intend to base a press release on it in 10 days time, on Monday 14 March 2011.

    Any response from UIDAI before that would be much appreciated,
    particularly if it is to point out errors in my sea-of-false-positives argument.

    I hope you find the review interesting and useful.

    Yours sincerely
    David Moss"

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