By- Sushrut Mane
A)What kind of technology is it?
Aadhaar collects the demographic as well as biometric data of whoever who has it. Section 33 of the Aadhaar Act ensures that under the guise of “national security”, the government can access any information without providing any explanation to anyone. It does not define what is “national security” so any reason can be used to access and use this data. So in short, one can say that,
Aadhar is a surveillance technology masquerading as secure authentication technology.
- B) But at least it is not affecting anyone directly. Then why we should worry?
1.Aadhaar is compulsory for two more groups of citizens – victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, and workers rescued from bonded labor. The court took 15 years to decide who is eligible or not, whether the person is who they are claiming to be and Now, the government wants the victims to prove their identity in this manner again. Same problem with bonded workers. (2)
- Thousands of pensioners without Aadhaar or bank accounts struck off lists in Rajasthan (3)
- Jharkhand: Family denied ration over Aadhaar linking, girl starves to death (4) (This is recent news)
C)Where we have to link it and what can be its effects?
1.You have to link it with your SIM card, pan card, passport, bank account, voter ID, college/university. And if you want benefits of schemes like LPG, MGNREGS, etc. you have to link Aadhar to them also.
- According to Aadhaar act 2016, “The Authority shall respond to an authentication query with a positive, negative or any other appropriate response sharing such identity information excluding any core biometric information.”
3.Which also means authority with whom you are linking Aadhar can have access to your photograph (which doesn’t come under core-biometrics) and your demographic information which includes as name, date of birth, address and “other relevant information” of an individual. It explicitly excludes race, religion, caste, tribe, ethnicity, language, records of entitlement, income or medical history.
- Well, this is legal (but worrying) way to give our personal details to authority. But there are other ways also.. Like:- Aadhaar data of 130 million, bank account details leaked from govt websites: Report (5)
5.To be fair, two safeguards are in place in the Aadhaar Act. One is that the requesting entity must inform you about the use it proposes to make of your identity information.( But who reads the fine print of the terms and conditions when buying a sim card, or before clicking “I agree” when installing new software?) The second safeguard is that the requesting entity cannot publish or display your Aadhaar number (or your core biometric information, but that is not accessible to a requesting entity in the first place).
- Note, however, that nothing prevents a requesting entity from publishing or displaying other identity information, as long as it has informed the concerned person.
7.The Clause 33 (2) states that an official with the rank of Joint Secretary or higher may access a person’s identity information including core biometric information if the official has an order issued in the interest of national security by the central government.
The government has the power to know (or use) your fingerprints, iris scan for the “National Security”.
- D) If there are such serious loopholes, why Government wants to make it mandatory?
- The Supreme Court, way back in October 2015, clarified that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for any schemes/services other than ration (PDS), employment guarantee (MNREGS), LPG distribution, pension, provident funds (EPF) and Jan Dhan Yojana. (see the highlighted part – (6) )
- So today, whatever gov is asking to link this and that with Aadhar is actually illegal. And supreme court reminds this to center in last month. (7)
- E) So is it necessary to link Aadhar with gov schemes?
1.As per “Government of India rule”, yes it is mandatory to link it for six welfare schemes, PAN cards, and mobile phones.
2.Other than these, ALL other schemes/services/benefits for which Aadhaar is being made mandatory go directly against the earlier Supreme Court order. Including the bank account linking.
- BUT the government continues its assault unabated. Even the regulations they cleared under the act were quite illegal and had many many loopholes. This is where the confusion begins.
- F) Aadhaar violates the fundamental right to privacy or not?
Yes, it does!
G)Then how the Aadhaar Act passed in Parliament? (read H) & I) also)
It was passed with shrewdness.
First, it was introduced in the Budget session of 2016 as a money bill. But Aadhar is not a money bill in any sense.
- H) What are money bills then?
1.Bills which exclusively contain provisions for imposition and abolition of taxes, for the appropriation of money out of the Consolidated Fund, etc., are certified as Money Bills.
- And Aadhar has nothing to do with these things. Only the speaker has the right to called a bill a money bill, but in case of Aadhar, Mr. Arun Jaitley himself introduce it as the money bill.
I)Why was it introduced as Money Bill?
- The Lok Sabha has majority members of ruling party but not in Rajya Sabha. Mr. Jaitley was aware that if this bill introduced as the normal bill it will be debated in Rajya Sabha.
- So after introducing it as a Money Bill, it will no longer under the control of members of Rajya Sabha. Rajya Sabha members can suggest amendments but Lok Sabha has every right to accept or reject those amendments. Guess what happens in Aadhar bill?
Lok Sabha rejected the amendments made by Rajya Sabha members and passed the bill. (8)
But the most dangerous thing is –
J)How Government is trying to set bureaucracy (and not democracy) regarding Aadhar Act?
For that, we take a wonderful journey all the way to Clause 58 on Page 17, to the very end of the oh-so-complicated-and-well-worded bill.
(1) If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government may, by order, published in the Official Gazette, make such provisions not inconsistent with the provisions of this Acts may appear to be necessary for removing the difficulty: Provided that no such order shall be made under this section after the expiry of three years from the commencement of this Act.
This clause basically puts in a ‘lockdown’ provision. Before that comes into effect, they can make changes in the bill by notification in the Gazette ( a written record of bills which passed as an Act). Basically, bureaucrats will have a free reign over what this bill will do after it is passed by Parliament.
And this is very serious.
- K) What is the role of ministers in this?
- Arun Jaitley admits that he is forcing people to create Aadhar card and to link with Gov schemes (even though it does not follow Supreme Court’s order). –
Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD) said the Supreme Court had said in September last year that Aadhaar is not mandatory and wanted to know whether the government was “forcing” people to get it.
“Yes, we are,” Jaitley replied.
- Mr. Narendra Modi as a CM of Guj thoughts that Aadhar there is no vision in this scheme-
On Aadhaar, neither the Team that I met nor PM could answer my Qs on security threat it can pose. There is no vision, only political gimmick
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 8, 2014
- L) So who is really responsible for this? UPA or NDA government?
- The Aadhar card or National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010 (NIDAI) was introduced by the then PM Dr. Manmohan Singh along with Nandan Nilekani as an optional card that wasn’t meant to be mandatory for all citizens. What started out as a simple identity card that would be provided to all Indians.
- The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016 is a money bill of the Parliament of India. It aims to provide legal backing to the Aadhaar unique identification number project by making it mandatory for people who want benefits subsidies or schemes.
- The foundational shift that occurred between the National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010 (NIDAI) and the Aadhaar Act 2016 is clear from their respective definitions of authentication:
NIDAI 2010: “The Authority shall respond to an authentication query with a positive or negative response or with any other appropriate response excluding any demographic information and biometric information.” (emphasis added)
Aadhaar Act 2016: “The Authority shall respond to an authentication query with a positive, negative or any other appropriate response sharing such identity information excluding any core biometric information.” (emphasis added)
- M) Conclusion-
Aadhaar’s purpose was drastically changed. It was supposed to be beneficial for the low-income group by providing subsidies to needy people and remove leakages in the system. The current version of it, which includes mandatory linking to companies and schemes, is illegal & risky. The Finance Minister’s replies to the opposition are super vague and show carelessness while introducing such important act. The disadvantages of this act are contradicting to the aim of Aadhaar Act 2016. The government must fix this issue before any major harm happens ( I think all possible negative effects have already happened.)
- Aadhar is not mandatory for VIPs
- Your Jio card registered and activated within 5 minutes because of your biometric data that you provided (in this case it was your fingerprint). At the same time, you handle over your demographic as well as biometric to the Jio company. And this can be misuse (perhaps found to be misused (9) )
- Making Aadhar mandatory is illegal. (I have shown you all evidence about it.
- In one rare case of mixed-up identities, 2 men end up with same Aadhaar number. You know, UID means- Unique…(10)
- In future Government can ask for DNA of citizen as a biometric data.
I am not joking. This is what FM Arun Jaitley said –
Shri Satpathi wants to know whether DNA can be part of it (Aadhaar).The act does not say so. Regulation can expand it.
2. No aid for Bhopal gas victims- https://scroll.in/latest/831144/no-aid-for-bhopal-gas-victims-workers-rescued-from-bonded-labour-unless-they-have-aadhaar-number?utm_content=bufferc9823&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
3. Thousands of pensioners without Aadhaar or bank accounts struck off lists – https://scroll.in/article/813132/rajasthans-living-dead-thousands-of-pensioners-without-aadhaar-or-bank-accounts-struck-off-lists?utm_content=bufferf0eb6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
4. Jharkhand: Family denied ration over Aadhaar linking, girl starves to death- http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/171017/jharkhand-girl-starves-to-death-as-family-denied-ration-over-aadhaar-linking.html
5.Aadhaar data of 130 million, bank account details leaked from govt websites: Report http://indiatoday.intoday.in/technology/story/aadhaar-data-of-130-millions-bank-account-details-leaked-from-govt-websites-report/1/943632.html
7.Supreme Court finds govt. defying its order on -Aadhaar http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Supreme-Court-finds-govt.-defying-its-order-on-Aadhaar/article14999391.ece
8.Aadhar bill passed in Lok Sabha after rejection of amendments introduced in Rajya Sabha- http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-aadhar-bill-hits-rajya-sabha-roadblock-returned-to-lok-sabha-with-amendements-2190133
10. In case of mixed-up identities, 2 men end up with same Aadhaar number- https://m.timesofindia.com/city/dehradun/in-case-of-mixed-up-identities-2-men-end-up-with-same-aadhaar-number/amp_articleshow/58989496.cms