1. The UID was promoted as a `voluntary’ `entitlement’. Now, people are being threatened that they canot access any services or institutions unless they are enrolled for a UID. This has not happened only because states have so decided, but are based largely on the reports of committees that Mr Nilekani has chaired since he became Chairman of the UIDAI.
2. This coercion has been introduced into a project where no feasibility study has been done till date. On 28 September, 2010, 17 eminent citizens had raised questions about the launch of a project of this nature without even a report on feasibility. The Parliamentary Standing Committee had raised similar concerns. There are no answers yet,and yet the coercion has become the norm.
3. The Standing Committee on Finance roundly rejected the National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010, by its report presented to Parliament on December 13, 2011. It also said that the UID project needs to be sent back to the drawing board, citing various deficiencies in its plan and execution.
The UIDAI and Dr Manmohan Singh‘s government have chosen to ignore the report. There is still no law. And the UID project, and the compulsion that has been introduced, are occurring beyond the protection of the law.
4. Proof of Concept studies were done only after the project was already underway. While doing the PoC on enrolment (uploaded in February 2011, over 4 months after enrolment had begun), the report says, they did not include areca nut workers and other plantation workers because this would only complicate the sample. How can such a study find validity. Also, the findings of the study are not substantiated; the evidence is not available, and those reading the report critically have found it to be self-serving.
The Fingerprint Authentication report (March 2012) and the Iris Authentication report (September 2012) suffer from similar problems. And unreasonable assumptions have been used to make it appear like the technology can be made to work: for instance, it is said in the report that iris never changes! A study by two professors at Notre Dame demonstrates that this is in fact untrue, and that those who have been saying it have done so because no longitudinal studies had been done thus far, since this is such recent technology!
5. The UIDAI, especially Mr Nilekani, is pushing for `re-engineering’ all systems and `seeding’ all data bases with the UID number to make it `ubiquitous’. This will make all systems dependent on the UID system functioning. Already, the inability to authenticate people is showing signs of requiring the use of `manual override’, which is a magnificent source of `lwakage’ and of exclusion of those the systemt does not authenticate. This unseemly haste to shift to untested and undependable technology is a source of grave concern.
6. The seeding of the number everywhere also raises privacy concerns. Mr Nilekani has not denied that the UID project raises serious privacy issues. But he has sidestepped the issue, saying that it is an issue wider than the UID project and needs a general law, and so he will not worry himself about it.
Whatever his assumption of responsiblity to ensure the protection of privacy — and in this case it would include concerns of profiling, tracking, tagging, convergence of data, data mining, the state and all manner of people gaining access to this data bank that is being created especially in the context of data becoming a transactable commosity — must precede consideration of any such project. Instead, there is no law governing the project and the uses to it which it may put; and there is no law on privacy either.
7. While still on privacy, it is being propagated that `the poor have no use for privacy’. This casual dismissal of such a right, especially given how vulnerable the poor, including classes of migrants, homeless, jhuggi dwellers, casualised workforce, for instance, are needs to be confronted.
8. There is much concern about the companies to whom the UIDAI has given contracts. There are companies like L1 Identity Solutions whose favoured customer has been the CIA, where a former director of the CIA, George Tenet, was even on their Board. Accenture, another company shortlisted for the project, is on Smart Borders Project with the US Homeland Security. US law requires all agencies to provide any information demanded of them to the Homeland Security if asked.
When the UIDAI was sent an RTI asking why they had enlisted foreign companies such as these in the project, the answer was that they had no way of knowing whether they were foreign companies — because the way invited participation did not elicit this information!
The absence of a law means that there is nothing binding them to a legal structure within which we could hold them.
The contracts with these companies are being denied for public persual in the name of `confidentiality’
9. The rampant outsourcing in the project means that all manner of people handle our data, including biometric data, and there is little that we can do when it is traded, misused, shared, lost ….
In January 2011, the Home Minsitry had said that they could not use UIDAI data because it was insecure, unverified and coudl pose a security threat. Then they patched up their differences and decided to share the country 50:50! As citizens, though, the rapprochement does not answer the problems raised by the Home Ministry.
Where are the answers?
JOIN US ON FACEBOOK HERE https://www.facebook.com/groups/nouid/
- UID/Aadhaar, a medicine possibly worse than the disease #mustshare (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Public Statement- PUCL Cancel the Tarkunde Memorial Lecture #UID #Nandannilekani (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Why civil Liberties activists walked out from Nandan Nilekani’s lecture #mustread #UID (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- #India- #Aadhaar Roundup: Ration Cards, Govt Salaries, Passport, Direct Cash Transfer & More #UID (kractivist.wordpress.com)