Petition against Aadhar scheme: Why the UID project is totally unjustified
There are, currently, 6 petitions filed against the UIDAI in the Supreme Court. While these differ from one another in certain details, they echo the same fundamental concern: the fact that confidential data (biometric or otherwise) of citizens is being collected by private organisations that have no legal sanctions- something which can have major repercussions on a later date. In addition to this, Col. Thomas raises several other issues with the project:
The UIDAI Does Not ‘Give’ an Identity: It Merely Accumulates Data. The UID form requires the submission of one of 14 pre-existing proofs of identity as well as a proof of residence. This does not solve the core problem: people who are not ‘identified’ currently: i.e those who do not have either one of the 14 identification cards continue to not be ‘identified’. There is also a fundamental problem here, the fact that the data in this new aggregated database is owned by the UIDAI- a body without any legal sanctions.
The UID Does Not ‘Solve‘ the Problem of ‘Leakage’ in Subsidies : One of the keystones of the UID project was the implementation of direct benefit transfer of government subsidies, however this has been put on hold because of the public outcry against the move. Even if this is left aside, there is a basic flaw here- the transfer of subsidy money into bank accounts still does not prevent the misuse of subsidized goods for profit. For instance, this still does not solve the problem of LPG cylinders being used in restaurants or in taxis.
However even if we leave all of these problems aside, the single biggest loophole, according to Justice K S Puttaswamy, who has also filed a PIL against the UID project, is the fact that the task of front-end data collection for this project is being sub-contracted to private firms- in essence, granting them access to the data of the realm they service. Data such as their retina scans, their fingerprint scan and their biographic details are essentially their full digital signature. While it may seem that isolating individual signatures would be extremely difficult today, tomorrow it might no more be so- such are the miracles of modern technology. This alone is enough to point out the importance of stopping this process as it is right now.
Aside from this, another concern voiced by the Justice is the fact that the government has taken multiple liberties with the legislature for the implementation of this project. The National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010 was rejected by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance on multiple grounds, following which it was referred to a Select Committee of 30 members comprising of lawyers, IAS officers, ministers and representatives from major political parties. This committee also rejected the bill stating that it was constitutionally invalid. Strangely, however, the Government still passed an executive order mandating the issue of UID. All of this clearly raises serious doubts on the process.
A similar petition has been filed by social worker Aruna Roy who rightly stated “In the present day and age, where every country is facing the problem of identity frauds, usage of fake identities for money laundering, terrorism, etc., UID is letting private contractors collect sensitive data of persons, which is not protected or governed under any law, whatsoever.”
The concerns listed out in the petition clearly indicate that Aadhar will do more harm than good. The glitz and glamour created by the government will soon blow away and when its failure begins to surface it might be too late. It is high time we open our eyes and question this move by the government that threatens our rights as citizens. Share this piece of information with your friends and family and help in making people aware of the truth.
Do check out the interview of Justice K S Puttaswamy: Demanding Aadhar to provide government services is contempt of courtThis post has been sponsored by Blogmint