Bangalore police do a Dhoble, replace hockey stick with handycam #moralpolicing


Outrage after policemen begin filming couples in city’s famous Cubbon Park

Hemanth.Kashyap mirrorfeedback@indiatimes.com
BANGALORE , DEc 3, 2012

Taking a leaf out of Mumbai’s hockey stick-wielding cop Vasant Dhoble, who had hit the headlines for his crackdown against pubs and restaurants, the Bangalore police have armed its force with cameras to curb ‘immorality’ in the city.
For the past two weeks, ‘armed’ policemen have been tailing lovers at the famous Cubbon Park, known for its dense green foliage and ample private space, sparking an outrage. “This ridiculous and another example of Bangalore police’s direct encroachment into the lives of citizens,” K S Vimala, vice-president, Akhila Bharata Janawadi Mahila Sanghatan,said.“Thisisafreecountry and we all have our right to a moment… right to express.”
The police say they had to resort to the measure following several complaints of misbehaviour and indecent acts in public places.
“You have to see the park to understand why we have taken this measure,” a senior police officer said. “Policemen have been told not to disturb couples who are not misbehaving.Ifacouplecrossestheline, they will first be told politely. If they continue, cops will aim the camera at the couple, pretending to shoot. In extreme cases, however, they will take shots and use it as evidence, if need be. With this good intention, we have taken this step,” he said.
Though police claim that ‘immoral’ acts have come down, not manyareimpressedbytheintrusion into their private lives.
“Indecent or immoral are debatable terms; nobody can be a judge of that,” Vimala said.
“This type of moral policing is not acceptable at all,” she added.
Slamming the police action, Advocate Chandrika Pateel said, “It is unlawful to capture someone’s image without permission, especially in his/her private moments. No rule states that a couple can’t hold hands in public, but if the police think so, let them catch those who smoke in public rather than those who breathe fresh air in parks,” Chandrika Pateel, advocate, said.
Inspector Badrinath of Cubbon parkpolicestationinsistedthatthey were not harassing anyone. “It is an effort to control illegal and immoralactivitiesinthepark.Bangaloreans are proud to have such a big and beautiful park in the city. We should maintain its values and beauty. There is no intention to harass people. Also, the law allows us to book a nuisance case against thoseengagingindecentactsatsuch places.”

Armed with a camera, a policeman approaches a couple in Cubbon Park, Bangalore. Right: Terrified, the lovers flee the spot

 

#India- Justice AP Shah expert Groups Report on #Privacy #Planning Commission #mustread


pic ocurtsey – The Hindu

With the initiation of national programmes like Unique Identification number,  (UID)
NATGRID, CCTNS, RSYB, DNA profiling, Reproductive Rights of Women, Privileged
communications and brain mapping, most of which will be implemented through ICT
platforms, and increased collection of citizen information by the government, concerns
have emerged on their impact on the privacy of persons. Information is, for instance,
beginning to be collected on a regular basis through statutory requirements and through egovernance projects. This information ranges from data related to: health, travel, taxes,
religion, education, financial status, employment, disability, living situation, welfare
status, citizenship status, marriage status, crime record etc. At the moment there is no
overarching policy speaking to the collection of information by the government. This has
led to ambiguity over who is allowed to collect data, what data can be collected, what are
the rights of the individual, and how the right to privacy will be protected The extent of
personal information being held by various service providers, and especially the enhanced
potential for convergence that digitization carries with it is a matter that raises issues
about privacy.
II. Global data flows, today, are no longer the result of a file transfer that was
initiated by an individual’s action for point-to-point transfer over 30 years ago. As soon
as a transaction is initiated on the Internet, multiple data flows take place simultaneously,
via phenomena such as web 2.0, online social networking, search engine, and cloud
computing. This has led to ubiquity of data transfers over the Internet, and enhanced
economic importance of data processing, with direct involvement of individuals in transborder data flows

. While this is exposing individuals to more privacy risks, it is also challenging businesses which are collecting the data directly entered by users, or through
their actions without their knowledge, – e.g. web surfing, e-banking or e-commerce – and
correlating the same through more advanced analytic tools to generate economic value
out of data. The latter are accountable for data collection and its use, since data has
become one of the drivers of the knowledge based society which is becoming even more
critical to business than capital and labor. The private sector on the other hand, uses
personal data to create new demands and build relationships for generating revenue from
their services. The individuals are putting out their data on the web in return for useful
services at almost no cost. But in this changed paradigm, private sector and the civil
society have to build legal regimes and practices which are transparent and which inspire
trust among individuals, and enhance their ability to control access to their data, even as
economic value is generated out of such data collection and processing for all players. In
order to understand these concerns and identify interventions for effectively addressing
these issues, a brainstorming session on privacy-related issues was held in the Planning
Commission under the chairmanship of Justice A P Shah, former Chief Justice of Delhi
High Court. The meeting was presided over by Dr. Ashwani Kumar, MOS (Planning,
S&T and MoES) and attended by representatives from industry, civil society NGOs,
voluntary organizations and government departments.
III. During the meeting it was decided to constitute a small Group of Experts to
identify key privacy issues and prepare a paper to facilitate authoring of the Privacy bill
while keeping in view the international landscape of privacy laws, global data flows and
predominant privacy concerns with rapid technological advancements. Accordingly a
Group of Experts was constituted under the chairpersonship of Justice A P Shah. The 4
constitution and the terms of reference of the group is at Annex 1. The Group held several
meetings to understand global privacy developments and challenges and to discuss
privacy concerns relevant to India. The Group was divided into two sub-groups – one for
reviewing privacy regimes around the world with a view to understand prevalent best
practices relating to privacy regulation and the other for reviewing existing legislation and
bills to identify prevalent privacy concerns in India. However, the committee did not
“make an in-depth analysis of various programs being implemented by GOI from the
point of view of their impact on privacy.” This report, which is a result of the work of
both sub-groups, proposes a detailed framework that serves as the conceptual foundation
for the Privacy Act for India.
IV. This report proposes five salient features of such a framework:
1. Technological Neutrality and Interoperability with International Standards:

The
Group agreed that any proposed framework for privacy legislation must be
technologically neutral and interoperable with international standards. Specifically,
the Privacy Act should not make any reference to specific technologies and must be
generic enough such that the principles and enforcement mechanisms remain
adaptable to changes in society, the marketplace, technology, and the government. To
do this it is important to closely harmonise the right to privacy with multiple
international regimes, create trust and facilitate co-operation between national and
international stakeholders and provide equal and adequate levels of protection to data
processed inside India as well as outside it. In doing so, the framework should
recognise that data has economic value, and that global data flows generate value for
the individual as data creator, and for businesses that collect and process such data.
Thus, one of the focuses of the framework should be on inspiring the trust of global
clients and their end users, without compromising the interests of domestic customers
in enhancing their privacy protection.
2. Multi-Dimensional Privacy:

This report recognises the right to privacy in its
multiple dimensions. A framework on the right to privacy in India must include
privacy-related concerns around data protection on the internet and challenges
emerging therefrom, appropriate protection from unauthorised interception, audio and
video surveillance, use of personal identifiers, bodily privacy including DNA as well
as physical privacy, which are crucial in establishing a national ethos for privacy
protection, though the specific forms such protection will take must remain flexible to
address new and emerging concerns.
3. Horizontal Applicability:

The Group agreed that any proposed privacy legislation
must apply both to the government as well as to the private sector. Given that the
international trend is towards a set of unified norms governing both the private and
public sector, and both sectors process large amounts of data in India, it is imperative
to bring both within the purview of the proposed legislation.
4. Conformity with Privacy Principles:

This report recommends nine fundamental
Privacy Principles to form the bedrock of the proposed Privacy Act in India. These
principles, drawn from best practices internationally, and adapted suitably to an Indian
context, are intended to provide the baseline level of privacy protection to all
individual data subjects. The fundamental philosophy underlining the principles is the
need to hold the data controller accountable for the collection, processing and use to
which the data is put thereby ensuring that the privacy of the data subject is
guaranteed.
5. Co-Regulatory Enforcement Regime: This report recommends the establishment of
the office of the Privacy Commissioner, both at the central and regional levels. The
Privacy Commissioners shall be the primary authority for enforcement of the
provisions of the Act. However, rather than prescribe a pure top-down approach to
enforcement, this report recommends a system of co-regulation, with equal emphasis
on Self-Regulating Organisations (SROs) being vested with the responsibility of
autonomously ensuring compliance with the Act, subject to regular oversight by the
Privacy Commissioners. The SROs, apart from possessing industry-specific
knowledge, will also be better placed to create awareness about the right to privacy
and explaining the sensitivities of privacy protection both within industry as well as to
the public in respective sectors. This recommendation of a co-regulatory regime will
not derogate from the powers of courts which will be available as a forum of last
resort in case of persistent and unresolved violations of the Privacy Act.

DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT HERE

 

Why UIDAI has not given any data with respect to money?


UIDAI contracts


 http://tahaz.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/uidai-contracts/

Why UIDAI has not given any data with respect to money?

How much public money did UIDAI give to each contract?

What is the duration of contract?

What was the process?

Why a particular firm was selected? On that grounds?

What is the time frame of completing the contracts?

What are the consequences if contracts are not completed on time?

http://uidai.gov.in/contracts-awarded-link.html

Contracts Awarded

 

S.No.

Agency

Description

Order Date

1

HCL Infosystems Design, development, maintenance and support of Intranet and Knowledge Management portal 07-07-2011

2

M/s HP India Sales Pvt Ltd Aadhaar Document Management service 07-06-2011

3

M/s Wipro Ltd. Deployment of 7 Project Managers 02-05-2011

4

M/s MAC Associates Renovation/Remodelling of 9th Floor, UIDAI office, Delhi 28-04-2011

5

M/S. Wipro Ltd Supply, Installation, Commissioning for Hardware & Software for Data Centre at Bengaluru & NCR 29-03-2011

6

National Informatics Centre Services Inc. Purchase of 68 Blade Servers 08-03-2011

7

M/S. Wipro Ltd Deployment of 32 Resource Personnel and Monitoring Tools 03-02-2011

8

Sagem Morpho Security Pvt. Ltd. Purchase of Biometric Authentication Devices 02-02-2011

9

Totem International Ltd Purchase of Biometric Authentication Devices 02-02-2011

10

Linkwell Telesystems Pvt. Ltd. Purchase of Biometric Authentication Devices 02-02-2011

11

Sai Infosystem (India) Ltd. Purchase of Biometric Authentication Devices 02-02-2011

12

Geodesic Ltd. Purchase of Biometric Authentication Devices 02-02-2011

13

HCL Infosystems Ltd. Purchase of Biometric Authentication Devices 02-02-2011

14

I D Solutions Purchase of Biometric Authentication Devices 02-02-2011

15

NISG Order for preparation of DPR for setting up of UBCC 31-01-2011

16

STQC Hiring of Agency for Security Audit of IT infrastructure at UIDAI 21-01-2011

17

Telsima Communication Pvt.Ltd Hiring of space for UBCC at Bengaluru 27-01-2011

18

Wipro Limited Hiring of Data Centre Space (2000 sqft) & Facilities for UIDAI at Delhi/NCR 23-12-2010

19

Aircel, Bharti Airtel Ltd, BSNL, RailTel Corporation of India Ltd, Reliance Communications, Tata Communications Piped Data Connectivity 29-11-2010

20

HCL Infosystems Ltd. Disk Array Enclosures, SATA Disk Drives and Upgrade Pair 4G FC Ports 29-11-2010

21

National Informatics Centre Services Inc. Video Conferencing for UIDAI HQ & ROs 03-08-2010

22

Satyam Computer Services Ltd. (Mahindra Satyam) Implementation of Biometric Solution for UIDAI 30-07-2010

23

L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company Implementation of Biometric Solution for UIDAI 30-07-2010

24

Accenture Services Pvt. Ltd. Implementation of Biometric Solution for UIDAI 30-7-2010

25

Percept H. Pvt. Ltd. (Media) Advertising Agency for designing Creative Content 01-07-2010

26

Bharti Airtel Ltd. Hiring & Data Center Space (2000 sq ft.) & facilities for UIDAI at Bangalore 25-06-2010

27

Intelenet Global Services Setting up and Operating Contact Centers for the UIDAI 15-6-2010

28

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. Re-Design, Development, Maintenance and Support of UIDAI Web Portal 11-06-2010

29

National Informatics Centre Services Inc. Purchase of Storage Systems for Data Centre 05-05-2010

30

Mindtree Ltd. Application Software Development, Maintenance and Support Agency for UIDAI 27-04-2010

31

National Informatics Centre Services Inc. Purchase of Hardware for Data Centre 07-04-2010

32

National Informatics Centre Services Inco Purchase of Blade Servers and Hardware for Data Centre 05-04-2010

33

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. Purchase of Biometric Devices 10-03-2010

34

HCL Infosystems Ltd. Purchase of Biometric Devices 10-03-2010

35

Ernst & Young Consultancy Services to UIDAI for Setting up of Central ID Data Repository (CIDR) and Selection of Managed Service Provider (MSP) 26-02-2010

36

4G Identity Solution Pvt. Ltd. Purchase of Biometric Devices 24-02-2010

37

e-Smart Systems Pvt. Ltd. Purchase of Biometric Devices 22-02-2010

38

Base Systems Pvt. Ltd. Purchase of Biometric Devices 22-02-2010

 

India- Experiments with Aadhaar #UID #Nandan Nilekani


    Bharat Bhatti

Jean Drèze

    Reetika Khera

The Hindu

Technical glitches in the unique identification method make it unreliable in disbursing wages under the employment guarantee scheme

Within a few weeks of “Aadhaar-enabled” payments of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme wages being initiated in Jharkhand, earlier this year, glowing accounts of this experiment started appearing in the national media. Some of them also gave the impression, intentionally or otherwise, that this successful experiment covered most of Jharkhand. A fairly typical excerpt, which condenses five grand claims in a few lines, is as follows: “As the new system ensures payment of wages within a week, the demand for work under MGNREGS has gone up. Consequently, migration has been checked, families have been reunited and, no less important, some workers have a saving in the bank.”

Enthused by these upbeat reports, we tried to trace the evidence behind them, but quickly reached a dead end. The authorities in Ranchi referred us to the website of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), but we did not find any evaluation of the experiment there or, for that matter, any details of it. There was no alternative, it seemed, than to check the facts for ourselves.

Ratu Block

We headed for the Ratu Block in Ranchi District, the source of most of the reports. It was, at that time (early March), one of the five Blocks where the experiment had been launched. On arrival, we found that only three gram panchayats (GPs) were involved, out of 14 in Ratu Block. The showpiece appeared to be Tigra GP, but it turned out that even there, only one worksite had enjoyed the blessings of Aadhaar-enabled wage payments. In the three GPs together, the system had been implemented at five worksites, employing a total of about 50 workers. We managed to interview 42 of them with the help of a small team of student volunteers.

The main role of Aadhaar in the Jharkhand experiment is to facilitate the implementation of the “business correspondent” (BC) model. Under this model, accredited agents provide doorstep banking services to MGNREGS workers using a micro-ATM. They act as extension counters of the local bank (in this case, Bank of India), disbursing wages close to people’s homes. Biometric authentication is meant to prevent identity fraud, e.g. someone’s wages being withdrawn by someone else. Aadhaar is one possible foundation of biometric identification, though not the only one. In this approach, wages are paid through Aadhaar-enabled accounts that are supposed to be opened at the time of UID enrolment. Authentication requires internet connectivity, so that workers’ fingerprints and Aadhaar numbers can be matched with the UIDAI’s Central Identities Data Repository.

The BC model widens the reach of the banking system in rural areas. This, in turn, helps to bring more MGNREGS workers under the umbrella of the banking system, as opposed to post offices, where corruption (including identify fraud) is a serious problem. Doorstep banking facilities are also a significant convenience for workers in areas where bank offices are distant, overcrowded, or unfriendly.

A little farcical

Coming back to Ratu, some aspects of the experiment were a little farcical. For instance, on one occasion, workers from Tigra were asked to collect their wages 10 kilometres away, so that Aadhaar-enabled payments could be done in front of a visiting Minister. On a more positive note, the system seemed to work, at least under close supervision. Further, most of the workers had a positive view of it. They appreciated being able to collect their wages closer to their homes, without the hassles of queuing in overcrowded banks or of depending on corrupt middlemen to extract their wages from the post office. They did not fully understand the new technology, but nor were they afraid or suspicious of it.

Having said this, there were problems too. Dependence on fingerprint recognition, internet connectivity, and the goodwill of the BC created new vulnerabilities. Fingerprint recognition problems alone affected 12 out of 42 respondents. Some workers did not have a UID number, and some had a UID number but no Aadhaar-enabled account. None of them had received bank passbooks, making it difficult for them to withdraw their wages from the bank when the Aadhaar system failed.

Four respondents were yet to find a way of getting hold of their wages. Otherwise, the payment of wages was reasonably timely, but this had more to do with intensive supervision than with Aadhaar. It is important to understand that Aadhaar, on its own, is of limited help in reducing delays in MGNREGS wage payments. This is because the bulk of the delays occur before the banking system is involved — at the stage of submission of muster rolls, work measurement, preparation of payment advice, and so on. At every step, there is a lot of foot-dragging, and Aadhaar is not the answer.

(According to the MGNREGA Commissioner in Jharkhand, quoted in one of the articles mentioned earlier, “Against one month now, payments will reach workers’ accounts in one week.” This statement is typical of the delusional mindset of the Jharkhand administration. Not only are current delays much longer than one month, the claim that Aadhaar will reduce them to one week has no basis.)

Nightmare

What next? It is easy to envisage a certain way of extending this experiment that would turn it into a nightmare for MGNREGS workers. Three steps would be a potent recipe for chaos: depriving MGNREGS workers of bank passbooks, imposing the system even where there is no internet connectivity, and insisting on a single bank operating in each Block (the odd “one Block, one bank” rule). All this may seem far-fetched, but there are precedents of this sort of irresponsibility. Short of this, if the Aadhaar-based BC model is hastily extended without the system being ready (as happened earlier with the transition from cash to bank and post-office payments of MGNREGS wages), it could easily compound rather than alleviate other sources of delays in wage payments.

It is also possible to see a more constructive roll-out of the BC model across the country. In this constructive approach, the BC model would act as an additional facility for MGNREGS workers, supplementing ordinary bank procedures instead of becoming a compulsory alternative. This would enable labourers to bypass the BC in cases of fingerprint recognition problems, or when the BC is corrupt or unreliable. For this purpose, the first step is to issue bank passbooks to MGNREGS workers — this had not been done in Ratu.

The question remains whether Aadhaar adds value to other versions of the BC model. In the adjacent Block of Itki, the BC model is being implemented without Aadhaar, in partnership with FINO, a private company. Workers’ fingerprints are stored on a smart card, used for authentication and tamper-proof record-keeping. This obviates the need for internet connectivity, an important advantage of the Itki system in areas like rural Jharkhand.

Aadhaar, for its part, has two potential advantages. First, it facilitates multiple biometric applications based on single UID enrolment. Second, Aadhaar facilitates “inter-operability”, that is, linking of different UID-enabled databases. But the same features also have costs. For instance, dependence on a centralised enrolment system (as opposed to local biometrics) makes it much harder to correct or update the database, or to include workers who missed the initial enrolment drive. Similarly, inter-operability raises a host of privacy and civil liberties issues. A brief exploratory visit to Itki did not uncover any obvious reason to prefer the Aadhaar system to local biometrics.

Poor cousin

It is also worth noting that the Jharkhand experiment is a very poor cousin of much earlier and larger efforts to implement the BC model in Andhra Pradesh. Unlike UIDAI, the government of Andhra Pradesh has conducted serious experiments with the BC model and learnt from them. Biometric micro-ATMs are now being installed at local post offices, an important idea for the whole country: micro-ATMs could give post offices a new lease of life as effective payment agencies.

In short, Aadhaar-enabled payments for MGNREGS workers raise many issues that are yet to be properly examined and debated. The Ratu project, for one, looked more like a public relations exercise than a serious experiment. Incidentally, we learnt in June 2012 that Aadhaar-enabled wage payments had been discontinued in Tigra, due to resilient fingerprint recognition problems. That, of course, was not reported in the national media.

Last but not the least, it is not clear why MGNREGS should be used as a testing ground for UID applications when other, more useful options are available. For instance, UID could be used quite easily to monitor office attendance of government employees.

The social benefits are likely to be large, and this is a more natural setting for early UID applications than the jungles of Jharkhand. Any takers?

Aadhaar Round-Up: UID Vs Resident ID; UID In Jharkhand and Delhi & More


200 px

By on Jun 22nd, 2012  |

Nandan Nilekani-led Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and Department of Electronics and Information & Technology (DEIT) has raised objections to the Home minister P Chidambaram’s Resident Identity Card (RIC) project,

under the government’s National Population Register (NPR) initiative, questioning the project’s capacity to be used as verification means for various offline services, reports DNA.

In December 2011, the Home Ministry had proposed to issue identity cards for every adult resident in the country and had rolled the first set of these identity cards at Porthrapur village in South Andaman district of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. However, a high powered expenditure finance committee had recently set up a committee under National Informatics Centre’s director general BK Gairola to evaluate the possibilities of using this card for other purposes like delivery of targeted services like MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), public distribution system, health insurance, various other financial and election purposes.

The report quotes Nandan Nilekani claiming that online authentication which is being used by Aadhaar numbers is a better means for the government to deliver targeted schemes. Note that UIDAI had launched a web-based authentication interface for Aadhaar numbers earlier this year, which allowed banks, telecom companies and government departments to authenticate an Indian resident on the basis of his Aadhaar number or UID, in accordance with KYC norms and process his application accordingly.  However, a few government departments were skeptical about UIDAI’s online platform considering unreliability of Internet in the country and had opted for an offline approach with hand-held devices.

—-

In a related development, The Pioneer reports that the department of Rural Development, which is the registrar to UIDAI for Aadhar enrolment, has invited bids from enrollment agencies enlisted by UIDAI in Jharkand, to manage enrollment in seven districts of the state. The final phase of enrollment is scheduled to resume from 16th August.

The report cites sources to inform that a fresh tender has been issued  as additional and more stringent guidelines and conditions have been suggested by the UIDAI. According to the report 72,36,841 people from the State have been enrolled under the UID scheme, with companies like Wipro, MSK Enterprises, IL&FS, Vision Comptech Intergartor Ltd and others serving as enrollment agencies. The enrollment is significant following trials for routing all welfare schemes related payments, especially wages under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA), through UID numbers, being conducted in the state.

—-

Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit has said that she was not satisfied with the pace of enrolment for Adhaar number, and has asked UID Chairman Nandan Nilekani to expedite the process in the city, according to a PTI report. The report quotes officials saying that the progress of data collection and enrollment by five private agencies appointed to collect bio-metric data and registration of citizens for issuance of Adhaar numbers, was not satisfactory and that thousands of residents have not received adhaar numbers months after enrollment. The report also suggests that the Delhi government plans to use the Adhaar database to identify beneficiaries for various schemes and plug the loopholes in the PDS .

—-

The Ministry of Rural Development intends to update the Registration Act, to enable online application for the registration of land and property documents and to allow registration officers to use Unique Identification (UID) or Aadhaar number to verify the identity of applicants, reports The Hindu.

Quoting a senior official who informed that a note had been prepared and would be submitted to the cabinet in a week for it. The report also adds that under the proposed amendment the register of all documents, except wills, will be openly accessible to the general public.

—–

Gold loan companies, including the likes of Muthoot Finance and Mannpuram Finance, are reportedly asking customers for their Aadhar Cards and UID numbers under KYC (Know your customer) norms, following the RBI’s insistence oon better KYC norms to check correction in gold prices, reports The Economic Times. The companies intend to start online verification using UID numbers, although the verification facility has not been introduced by the authorities so far, according to the report.

Compiled by Anupam Saxena & Vikas SN

Leaked Document Shows NYPD Infiltrated, Spied On Leftist Groups


 By Kristen Gwynne | Sourced from AlterNet

The Associated Press has obtained another document detailing the New York Police Department‘s (NYPD) spying, this time on liberal political groups. Documents and interviews obtained by the AP show that undercover NYPD officers attended meetings run by liberal organizations, and kept intelligence files on activists planning demonstrations across the country.

The AP reports that the NYPD’s infiltration tactics are nothing new:

  The infiltration echoes the tactics the NYPD used in the run-up to New York’s 2004 Republican National Convention, when police monitored church groups, anti-war organizations and environmental advocates nationwide. That effort was revealed by The New York Times in 2007 and in an ongoing federal civil rights lawsuit over how the NYPD treated convention protesters.

Police said the pre-convention spying was necessary to prepare for the huge, raucous crowds that were headed to the city. But documents obtained by The Associated Press show that the police department’s intelligence unit continued to keep close watch on political groups in 2008, long after the convention had passed.

In April 2008, an undercover NYPD officer traveled to New Orleans to attend the People’s Summit, a gathering of liberal groups organized around their shared opposition to U.S. economic policy and the effect of trade agreements between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

When the undercover effort was summarized for supervisors, it identified groups opposed to U.S. immigration policy, labor laws and racial profiling. Two activists — Jordan Flaherty, a journalist, and Marisa Franco, a labor organizer for housekeepers and nannies — were mentioned by name in one of the police intelligence reports obtained by the AP.

“One workshop was led by Jordan Flaherty, former member of theInternational Solidarity Movement Chapter in New York City,” officers wrote in an April 25, 2008, memo to David Cohen, the NYPD’s top intelligence officer. “Mr. Flaherty is an editor and journalist of the Left Turn Magazine and was one of the main organizers of the conference.Mr. Flaherty held a discussion calling for the increase of the divestment campaign of Israel and mentioned two events related to Palestine.”

The document provides the latest example of how, in the name of fighting terrorism, law enforcement agencies around the country have scrutinized groups that legally oppose government policies. The FBI, for instance, has collected information on anti-war demonstrators. The Maryland state police infiltrated meetings of anti-death penalty groups. Missouri counterterrorism analysts suggested that support for Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, might indicate support for violent militias — an assertion for which state officials later apologized. And Texas officials urged authorities to monitor lobbying efforts by pro Muslim-groups.

  The AP noted that police often monitored protests to plan for the possibility of violence or riots, adding that:

By contrast, at the height of the Occupy Wall Street protests and in related protests in other cities, officials at the U.S. Homeland Security Department repeatedly urged authorities not to produce intelligence reports based simply on protest activities.

“Occupy Wall Street-type protesters mostly are engaged in constitutionally protected activity,” department officials wrote in documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the website Gawker. “We maintain our longstanding position that DHS should not report on activities when the basis for reporting is political speech.”

  But Occupy Wall Street organizers say the NYPD is following them, and infiltrating, them as well. The New York Times recently reported that some occupiers believe they are being spied on by NYPD officers, and that the NYPD’s surveillance is OWS-related.

The surveillance, also documented in Muslim neighborhoods, is being carried by what the AP categorizes as an un-checked, secret unit:

  The Intelligence Division, a squad that operates with nearly no outside oversight and is so secretive that police said even its organizational chart is too sensitive to publish. The division has been the subject of a series of Associated Press articles that illustrated how the NYPD monitored Muslim neighborhoods, catalogued people who prayed at mosques and eavesdropped on sermons.

Read full document here

The UIDAI project: why some of the optimism might be Nir-aadhar


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200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few months ago Nandan Nilekani had published an editorial in the National Medical Journal of India extolling the virtues of the Aadhar project for health. His article is available at Editorial-II.pdf

Anant Bhan  and Sunita Bandewar have responded to this article questioning some of the claims in the editorial.The resposne hasbeen published in the latest NMJI and is  below
The UIDAI project: why some of the optimism might be nir-aadhar

The article by Nandan Nilekani in the NMJI 2011 May-June issue[1] provides an interesting laundry list of advantages which an Aadhar number could provide to those registered through the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Nonetheless, it is surprising to see no equivalent of a limitations section. The article fails to present a holistic and full picture of the landscape- in absence of any reference to expected challenges, the potential for duplication of existing mechanisms; and
threats the Aadhar project poses, particularly to privacy of personal information of individuals, and data security- and mention of any proposed measures the UIDAI is taking to address these.  Even a cursory uninformed examination of the claims in the article will lead the reader to believe that while the intention is laudable, the process and means can definitely be causes of concern. As readers, we had several questions related to the approach to, implementation of as well as legislative
adequacy of the UIDAI initiative and their implications for its success. .

 
Why two sets of identification data?

It is unclear as to why two sets of identification data – demographic and bio-informatics – are required for securing an Aadhar number. Also, the operational aspects and possible misuse could be causes of concern. Currently individuals face many problems in fulfilling the expectations of producing proof of residence, birth date etc. for securing other key government identification documents (such as voting card, passport and ration card) and it is unspecified how similar tribulations would be minimized for those seeking an Aadhar number?

Would securing an Aadhar number truly remain voluntary? 

While some benefits of having an Aadhar number are pointed out like immunization tracking for children, the system also worrying suggests a clear link between basic health provisioning (such as immunization) and the need for official proof of being an Indian resident (to be certified through the possession of an Aadhar number). If this is indeed the case, it would mean that providers especially in the public healthcare system might not be able to provide any kind of health services to vulnerable populations like ‘illegal’ immigrants in the country. It should not be the duty or responsibility of a healthcare provider to sit in judgment on a patient’s legal status of entitlement of health services. A patient presenting at a healthcare facility without an Aadhar number might be suspected of being a non-citizen- and stigmatized- and not provided any health services, or even worse, pursued by the state machinery. Linking Aadhar to essential public health services like immunization could mean that undocumented immigrants, among other vulnerable groups, would shun health programs and hence put themselves and others in the community at risk of vaccine-preventable and other communicable conditions.

Although, it is currently voluntary to opt to secure an Aadhar number, the emphasis on its use in health care context in the way Nilekani advocates in the article might run the risk of Aadhar number becoming almost inevitable and “mandatory” for better, swifter and smoother access to health care in due course of time. Aadhar has already become compulsory for LPG provision by government oil companies as part of a pilot project in Mysore[2]. Similar concerns have been expressed by others, too[3].

Wouldn’t the proposal of use of Aadhar for immunization tracking be duplication of efforts? 

The government has already launched a separate system for maternal and child health tracking,including immunization[4] through the National Rural Health Mission Health Management Information System  (http://nrhm-mis.nic.in/mchtracking.htm     http://nrhm-mcts.nic.in/) and it’s not clear why UIDAI should aim to replicate the same through Aadhar. We believe there might be other instances where such replication of efforts might be probable- this is both a waste of resources and increases the chances of threats to data security.

Is the health system sufficiently equipped to use Aadhar number? 

Assuming the Aadhar number could finally be used in the health care context as Nilekani delineates, is our health system equipped with the required e-platform across the nation; and are there adequately trained human resources to run such a sophisticated system  available, or being recruited, at every level within the health system?  It appears that the use of the Aadhar number as envisioned would warrant inter-ministerial and inter-sectoral coordination and resource investment for its meaningful realization. It is not clear as to how this is being planned and executed.

 
Would the system to protect privacy and data protection be truly foolproof? 

The issue of privacy of personal information (especially health) and associated challenges are not mentioned in the article. It is also not clear as how data safety will be ensured. In response to one of the questions in the parliament regarding mechanisms to protect data from unauthorised use in UIDAI, it was said that the data would be encrypted at source along with measures such as limiting physical use, and putting standard security infrastructure[5].

We wonder if that would be sufficient given the current trends of data theft from the supposedly safe and well protected sectors, such as banking and information technology which use similar mechanisms. As instances of theft and misuse of information becomes commonplace, as evidenced by increasing credit card fraud and frequent hacking of government websites[6],any framework for information collection which does not have robust safeguards  should be grounds for concern. As well, India does not have any coherent policy or law governing data encryption [7],[8], [9].

In the contemporary context of globalised terrorism, it would also be challenging for the UIDAI to comply with the promise of confidentiality towards data collected if faced with mounting pressures from investigation and intelligence agencies, whether domestic or foreign, to share bioinformatics information of individuals suspected to be associated with terrorism and violence.  Although a
somewhat different context, the recent episode of a vaccination campaign launched by the US intelligence agency CIA aimed specifically at collecting DNA samples from the Osama Bin Laden household in Abbottabad in Pakistan[10] is representative of reasons for our concerns on this front of the potential of misuse of a public health program collecting identifiable data.

The initial Aadhar registration system being implemented also provides reason for worry. As the enrolment process has been sub-contracted via tenders to private firms, there is seemingly no guarantee of how information and data security will be maintained. Moreover, ensuring data protection from interested parties such as insurance companies who could choose to deny health insurance coverage to individuals based on their health profiles is paramount. Unless stringent safeguards are built in, the Aadhar number could be a serious and risky intrusion into our privacy.

Furthermore, it is ambiguous as to how harmonization and reconciliation across various legal apparatuses, such as, the National Identification Authority of India Bill and the proposed Right to Privacy Bill[11] would be achieved with regards to protecting personal information gathered under the Aadhar project.

Against this backdrop,we believe the editorial by Nilekani raises more questions than provides answers, and hence it is apt to question the claims of the article.

Finally, we also find it disconcerting that though the author declares his affiliation with the UIDAI, there is no conflict of interest statement in the article. Nilekani as head of the initiative is expected to have a positive bias towards the program. We believe it would have been good practice for a conflict of interest statement to have been appended with the article.

Anant Bhan, Pune, Maharashtra
anantbhan@gmail.com

Sunita V S  Bandewar, Pune, Maharashtra
sunita.bandewar@utoronto.ca

REFERENCES

________________________________

[1]Nilekani N. Building a foundation for better health: The role of the Aadhaar number. Natl Med J India.2011 May-Jun;24(3):133-5.

[2]Milton L. Aadhaar number to be must for LPG services. The Times of India. 2011 Aug 8 [cited 2011 Aug 18]. Available: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mysore/Aadhaar-number-to-be-must-for-LPG-services/articleshow/9533385.cms

[3]Ramanathan U. A private right or a public affair? Tehelka Magazine. 2011 Jul 9 [cited 2011 Aug 18]; Vol 8, issue 27. Available:  http://www.tehelka.com/story_main50.asp?filename=Ne090711PROSCONS.asp

[4]Government Health. Now, a tracking system for immunisation in India. 2011 August 3 [cited 2011 August 18]. Available:
http://www.igovernment.in/site/now-tracking-system-immunisation-india

[5]  Unique Identification Authority of India. Government of India Planning Commission, Rajya Sabha Questions. Question no 393(Answered on 2011 Feb 24) [cited 2011 Aug 20].  Available:http://uidai.gov.in/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=171&Itemid=150#rs

[6]Kurup D. ‘State actor’ linked to major cyber intrusions in India, world. The Hindu Bangalore edition. 2011 Aug 4 [cited 2011 Aug 18]. Available: http://www.thehindu.com/news/article2319894.ece

[7]Data Security Council of India.Recommendations for Encryption Policy Regulation u/s 84A of the Information
Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008.  Prepared by DSCI/NASSCOM with inputs from the industry.  2009 Jul 13 [cited 2011 Aug 16]. Available:http://www.dsci.in/sites/default/files/encryption_policy_dsci_final_submission_to_dit.pdf

[8]Dalal, P.Encryption policy of India needed.  2011 Jun 19 [cited 2011 Aug 5]. Available: http://ictps.blogspot.com/2011/06/encryption-policy-of-india-is-needed.html

[9]Waris S. Government asleep over encryption regulations. 2009 Aug 20 [cited 2011 Aug 21], Available: http://www.legallyindia.com/20090820138/Legal-opinions/government-asleep-over-encryption-regulations

[10]Reardon S. Pakistan. Decrying CIA vaccination sham, health workers brace for backlash. Science.2011 Jul 22;333(6041):395.

[11]Venkatesan J. Bill on ‘right to privacy’ in monsoon session: Moily. The Hindu, 2011 June 7 [cited 2011 Aug 17]. Available: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2082643.ece

UID, NPR and all that Jazz


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Jaimon Joseph

Some three months ago, my wife, her sister and their parents drove seven odd kilometers from where we live, to register for a Universal Identity or UID number. They’ve all got one now. Strangely, my wife got it about a month after the rest of the family did, even though they’d all enrolled together.

I was working that day, so about a month later, I hopped across to an apartment complex just ten minutes from our place, where I’d heard there was a UID camp in progress. I stood in line for maybe half an hour, then got myself photographed, fingerprinted and my iris scanned.

Curiously, the young lady who took all those records, couldn’t even type properly. She’d pound the keyboard with one finger – I remember wondering if she was determined to destroy it. As if in revenge, the computer refused to accept my full address. She banged it in at least thrice and the computer would mysteriously change it to something else.

Another chap came across and if I remember right, he deliberately didn’t fill in the PIN CODE. That’s when the software accepted my address. But even then, in a short hand sort of way – I’m not sure if it’s intelligible enough for Mr Nilenkani’s team to actually post me a letter with my UID number.

I checked with my parents who’d registered themselves just two days before at the same camp. They told me the attendants made it a point to record their email addresses and even filled in details of their existing bank accounts. Just two days later, in my case, they didn’t ask for either. But they automatically ticked a box which said I’d like to open a new bank account. Without even asking me – though the UIDAI guidelines, quoted in various articles on the web, apparently say they must.

A month after that, I discovered there was a UID camp happening right within my apartment. For such a supposedly hi-tech, project, couldn’t the registration process have been just a wee bit more sorted out? How hard would it have been to tell the residents of an area when and where these camps would be held?

Messers Chidambaram, Nilenkani and Ahluwalia have just decided all of us will have to do all of this all over again – this time for the National Population Register (NPR). This is a compulsory scheme, part of the Indian government census apparently.

And so this Sunday, my mom and brother walked to a NPR camp at a government school very close to home, to enroll for NPR. It was painless. But essentially they redid all the scans they’d done earlier.

The rest of the family will probably follow suit, once we know when and where the next NPR camp is being held. But my father’s been working in the northeast for sometime now. If he can’t attend the next camp in Delhi – will he be enrolled at a camp in the NE? And what complications might that entail?

But let’s put aside a single family’s minor discomfort and confusion. What exactly are all those brainy folks in the government aiming at? First they scan everyone twice, using two separate teams, with separate sums of money – tax payers money.

Then they spend some more cash comparing the scans from both teams. If there’s any mismatch, the National Population Register’s biometric scans are used and the Universal Identity biometric scan discarded. But that doesn’t mean the UID team will give back any of the money they spent, if they get any of the scans wrong. Not fair? Well – life’s not fair.

But what do I get after all this spending? I get a silicon chip embedded in a smart card, with a UID number embossed on it. What’s the card good for? It proves I’m Indian. But don’t my Passport, voter I card, PAN card, driver’s license, ration card all do the same thing? Why spend all that money on something they’ve already proved?

What’s the UID number good for? In itself – nothing. Turns out it wasn’t even compulsory to sign up for it. But Nilenkani and team are slowly dreaming up schemes where everything in India – from hospital bills to school certificates, from bank accounts to your monthly ration, will all be generated only if you have a UIDAI number. So might as well get it.

Only problem is, nobody’s told me what they’ll do with all the computer data they get, when I log in with my UID number. Let me explain. We’re all sick of marketing calls and pesky SMSs right? Why do we get them?

Because marketing guys went out and collected our phone numbers. Where did they get them from? Who knows – from our emails, Twitter messages, from door to door surveys, from cell phone shops, from service providers like Airtel and Vodaphone?

It doesn’t matter – they probably paid money to get our cell numbers. Why? Because they could individually send ads to each of us. And once they started, the government, despite its best intentions hasn’t been able to shut them up.

Now imagine a word where I “log” in with my UID number for anything I need. For medicines at a chemist, for a doctors appointment, to open a bank account. In an age of smartphones, I’ll have smart apps that use my UID number to order Pizza from the neighbourhood store or book train tickets. Every time I use my number, there’s a computer trace of where I was, what I was doing. Seems harmless.

But the devil’s in the detail. There’s no law yet, that prevents smart marketing guys from reading those computer traces. And for tailoring ads for me based on what they think I’m most interested in.

Here’s an obviously farcial example. Let’s call it science fiction right now. Something I dreamed up. But something that I’m still a wee bit worried about.

Let’s say I have a bout of erectile dysfunction a few years from now. Nothing unusual – male menopause does strange things to people. But it’s not something I’d want everyone to know.

So I visit a sex specialist who has a clinic on the other end of town. Where no one knows me. Before giving me an appointment he asks for my UID number and feeds it into his computer – because he isn’t allowed to entertain any patients who don’t have UID.

Read more here

A case for privacy – A.G. Noorani


The strongest protection possible must be given for the right to privacy in any statute or scheme, including the UID project.

IT is 30 years since a Congress Member of Parliament, V.N. Gadgil, suggested an Act for the protection of privacy, designed, no doubt, to curb press exposure of the wrongdoings of politicians. In reality, it is all but impossible to draft a statute that strikes a fair balance between people’s right to know and the protection of a person’s privacy. In India, as in the United Kingdom, there is no tort of privacy. India’s law of torts (that is, civil wrongs punishable in damages) is based on case law, English and foreign. However, the Supreme Court of India has inferred right to privacy from the ones explicitly guaranteed. Article 21 of the Constitution contains a guarantee of personal liberty and it is obvious that personal liberty also involves the right to privacy.

The Supreme Court ruled in Kharak Singh’s case in 1962 that the right to privacy is not a guaranteed right under our Constitution though it struck down domiciliary visits at night as being violative of “personal liberties”. A minority, comprising Justices K. Subbarao and J.C. Shah, held that the right to privacy was “an essential ingredient of personal liberty”. In the Nakheeran case [ R. Rajagopal vs State of Tamil Nadu (1994) 6 SCC 632], the court said:

The right to privacy is implicit in the right to life and guaranteed to the citizens of this country by Article 21. It is a ‘right to be left alone’. A citizen has a right to safeguard the privacy of himself, his family, marriage, procreation, motherhood, child-bearing and education, among other matters. No one can publish anything concerning the above matters without his consent – whether truthful or otherwise and whether laudatory or critical. If he does so, he would be violating the right to privacy of the person concerned and would be liable in an action for damages. The position may, however, be different if a person voluntarily thrusts himself into controversy or voluntarily invites or raises a controversy.”

There is another aspect to the right to privacy. India is a party to the United Nation’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 17 of the Covenant states that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference and attacks.” India ratified the Covenant on March 27, 1979. The instrument of ratification contains reservations to some of the other provisions of the Covenant, but not to Article 17. This is a treaty obligation enforceable internationally through the Human Rights Committee set up by the Covenant. India has to file periodic reports on its observance of the Covenant and successive Attorneys General have been grilled by the Committee’s members on the pathetic state of India’s reports.

In U.S. and U.K.

Even in the United States and Britain, legal recognition to privacy came in slow stages. It began with an article in 1890 in the Harvard Law Review by Louis D. Brandeis and his friend and law partner, Samuel Warren. Entitled “The Right to Privacy”, it was widely noticed. In 1928, as a judge of the Supreme Court, Brandeis gave a vigorous dissent upholding this right, which he called “the right to be let alone”. This was in Olmstead vs U.S., the famous telephone tapping case. The majority ruled that evidence, thus obtained, was admissible in courts. The ruling has suffered much battering since.

English common law recognised no right to privacy. Committees were set up to consider legislation on the right to privacy, only to find that no easy solution was possible. Reconciliation of this right with the freedom of speech is not an easy task. However, the Human Rights Act, 1998, “incorporates” as British law the “European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms” signed in 1950. Article 8(1) of the Convention says that “everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence”. Clause (2) carves out permissible restrictions, which are “necessary in a democratic society” in the interests of national security, for the prevention of crime, etc. Several cases have since been decided in English courts, which are of direct relevance to us. English cases are citable in our courts.

Data Protection Act

In 1998, Britain enacted the Data Protection Act, which lays down the principles and establishes a hierarchy of officials. Data controllers are subject to the jurisdiction of the Information Commissioner. It says: “Data controllers must also abide by the data protection principles. They are, in brief, (a) the data must be processed fairly and lawfully and only for one of the prescribed purposes. For data concerning ‘sensitive’ matters, there is a narrower group of specified purposes; (b) it must be adequate, relevant and not excessive for the purpose; (c) it must be accurate, and where necessary, kept up to date; (d) it must not be kept for longer than is necessary; (e) it must be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects; (f) appropriate technical and organisational measures must be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss or destruction of or damage to the data; (g) it must not be transferred out of the EEA [European Economic Area] unless the country to which it is taken or sent gives adequate protection for the rights of data subjects.

“The Commissioner can serve an enforcement notice if she is satisfied that a data controller has contravened any of these principles. An individual who suffers damage because a data controller has contravened any requirement of the Act is entitled to claim compensation. The special provisions for journalistic material gives exemption from: the data subjection principles (except those concerning security of data); data subject access rights; the rights of data subjects to prevent data processing; the rights of data subjects to correct inaccuracies; and rights concerning automated decision-making” (see Media Law, by Geoffrey Robertson, QC and Andrew Nicol, QC, Penguin, 4th Edition, pages 278-279).

Any law on data protection enacted by the Parliament of India will be tested on the anvil of Article 19. Section 32 of the British Data Protection Act provides “public interest” exemptions for “journalistic, literary or artistic material”. The test in each case is public interest. Public interest is a concept entirely different from material in which the public would be interested.

In 2004, the Supreme Court of India decided a case in which the right to privacy was involved. It concerned Section 73 of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899, and its amendment by Andhra Pradesh in 1986. As amended in 1986, it read:

“Every public officer or any person having in his custody any registers, books, records, papers, documents or proceedings, the inspection whereof may attend to secure any duty, or to prove or lead to the discovery of any fraud or omission in relation to any duty, shall at all reasonable times permit any person authorised in writing by the Collector to enter upon any premises and to inspect for such purposes the registers, books, records, papers, documents and proceedings, and to take such notes and extracts as he may deem necessary, without fee or charge and if necessary to seize them and impound the same under proper acknowledgement.

“Provided that such seizure of any registers, books, records, papers, documents or other proceedings, in the custody of any bank be made only after a notice of 30 days to make good the deficit stamp duty is given.”

The Supreme Court Bench, comprising R. Lahoti and A. Bhan, surveyed the case law in the U.S. and in India, but not in the U.K. It held:

“The impugned provision in Section 73 enabling the Collector to authorise ‘any person’ whatsoever in respect, to take notes or extracts from the papers in the public office suffers from the vice of excessive delegation as there are no guidelines in the Act and, more importantly, the Section allows the facts relating to the customer’s privacy to reach non-governmental persons and would, on that basis, be an unreasonable encroachment into the customer’s rights. This part of Section 73 permitting delegation to ‘any person’ suffers from the above serious defects and for that reason is, in our view, unenforceable. The state must clearly define the officers by designation or state that the power can be delegated to officers not below a particular rank in the official hierarchy, as may be designated by the state.”

Besides, the AP amendment of 1986 permitted inspection being carried out by the Collector by having access to documents that were even in private custody; that is, custody other than that of a public officer. It empowered invasion of the home of the person in whose possession the documents “tending” to or leading to the various facts stated in Section 73 were in existence. Section 73 was devoid of any safeguards as to probable or reasonable cause or reasonable basis or materials. It, therefore, violated the right to privacy both of the house and of the person. The court referred to the R. Rajagopal case wherein the learned judges held that “the right to personal liberty also means life free from encroachments unsustainable in law”, and such a right flowed from Article 21 of the Constitution.

Right to privacy was upheld again by the Supreme Court of India in another judgment most recently: Ram Jethmalani vs Union of India. Delivered by Justices P. Sathasivam and H.L. Gokhale, it read:

“Right to privacy is an integral part of right to life. This is a cherished constitutional value, and it is important that human beings be allowed domains of freedom that are free of public scrutiny unless they act in an unlawful manner…. [A]s constitutional adjudicators we always have to be mindful of preserving the sanctity of constitutional values, and hasty steps that derogate from fundamental rights, whether urged by governments or private citizens, howsoever well meaning they may be, have to be necessarily very carefully scrutinised. The solution for the problem of abrogation of one zone of constitutional values cannot be the creation of another zone of abrogation of constitutional values…. An inquisitorial order, where citizens’ fundamental right to privacy is breached by fellow citizens is destructive of social order. The notion of fundamental rights, such as a right to privacy as part of right to life, is not merely that the state is enjoined from derogating from them. It also includes the responsibility of the state to uphold them against the actions of others in the society, even in the context of exercise of fundamental rights by those others….

“…There is an inherent danger in making exceptions to fundamental principles and rights on the fly. Those exceptions, bit by bit, would then eviscerate the content of the main right itself. Undesirable lapses in upholding of fundamental rights by the legislature, or the executive, can be rectified by assertion of constitutional principles by this court…. We are not proposing that Constitutions cannot be interpreted in a manner that allows the nation-state to tackle the problems it faces. The principle is that exceptions cannot be carved out willy-nilly, and without forethought as to the damage they may cause.”

To sum up, the right to privacy is like the elephant – easy to detect, yet all but impossible to define. However, this is not to say that statutes on the subject do not exist. They do, in Canada as well as in the U.S. But the experience is not particularly inspiring. The best course then is to give the strongest protection possible for the right to privacy in any statute that may be enacted. That holds for any public scheme, including the UID project.

Frontline-Volume 28 – Issue 24 :: Nov. 19-Dec. 02, 2011