Protest letter to Prime Minister against UID (Aadhaar Project)
Honorable Prime Minister,
This memo is with respect to the Aadhaar Project, issuance of UID, collection and centralization of personal data including biometric information of entire population. I recognize the fact that, to date, no bill has been passed in either houses of the parliament neither had done any study, research or public debate regarding the same. I strongly believe that it is an absolutely ungrateful and deceitful act by the Government of India, a gross violation of fundamental right to privacy of the respected citizenry and a monolithically ruthless step to undermine the very Constitution of India. Here are my arguments against UID project…
Article 21 of The Constitution of India states that
No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
In the case of collection of highly sensitive personal data of the entire population without due parliamentary procedure is totally unacceptable and is outright violation of the above mentioned article. In fact, State has no right to pass such a law which invades the privacy of its citizenry.
As per Article 13(2)
The State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void.
Although, Part III of the constitution stating fundamental rights does not expressly specify the privacy rights, honorable Apex court of India in its landmark judgment Unni Krishnan, J.P. & Ors. Etc. VS State Of Andhra Pradesh & Ors. on 4 February, 1993 ruled that
“This Court has held that several un-enumerated rights fall within Article 21 since personal liberty is of widest amplitude.
The right to privacy
Govinda v. State of U.P.,  3 SCR 946 701
In this case reliance was placed on the American decision in Griswols v. Connecticut, 381 US 479 at 510
It is the fundamental right of everyone in this country, assured under the interpretation given to Article 21 by this Court in Francis Mullin’s case, to live with human dignity, free from exploitation. This right to live with human dignity enshrined in Article 21 derives its life breath from the directive Principles of State Policy and particularly clauses (e) and (f) of Article 39 and Article 41 and 42 and at the least, therefore, it must include protection of the health and strength of workers, men and women, and of the tender age of children against abuse, opportunities and facilities for children to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity, educational facilities, just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief. These are the minimum requirements which must exist in order to enable a person to live with human dignity and no State neither the Central Government nor any State Government has the right to take any action which will deprive a person of the enjoyment of these basic essentials.”
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to give lessons on The Constitution and its interpretations, but instead, I’m demanding those rights that are guaranteed by it and also to underscore my strongest protest against taking those rights away.
2. Huge risk of Unethical profiling
The data collected as part of providing ID cards, and the information stored in the cards, may be misused for a variety of purposes. The card can serve purposes other than its original intent. ID cards can be used to profile citizens in a country and initiate a process of racial/ethnic cleansing, same as the genocide done by Rwanda government of 1995.
Introduced in the 1930s by government of USA, as a way to track individuals for taxation purposes, Social Security numbers were never designed to be used for authentication, more over it doesn’t carry biometric data. Over time, however, private and public institutions began keeping tabs on consumers using the numbers, requiring people to present them as proof of identity, such as when applying for loans, new employment, or health insurance. The UID numbering scheme whitepaper itself says
“Since it is likely that increasingly the UID will be used by several service providers (government agencies, private institutions and NGOs) it is important for a resident to be able to remember it in the absence of a token such as a card.”
We do not want our tax money to be spent on building trade infrastructure for the undue benefit of domestic or foreign corporations taking away the bargain power of customers. There is no reason to disbelieve that the centralized database of citizens could be misused to profile citizens in undesirable and dangerous ways.
3. Unimaginable risk of Identity theft
Legislation on privacy cannot be a guarantee against the possibilities of misuse of ID cards. In USA even with adequate legislation, today, it amounts to over $50 billion worth identity theft. Survey conducted by Federal Trade Commission (http://www.ftc.gov) in 2006 estimates about 8.3 million lost/stolen identity victims in 2005 alone. Considering zero legislation towards identity protection, how will be the Indian scenario, is way beyond my imaginations!
4. Already rejected by governments of UK, USA, Australia etc
Two countries where the issue of national ID cards has been well debated are the United States and the United Kingdom. In both these countries, the project was shelved after public protests. Countries such as Australia have also shelved ID card schemes. Communist China, where there is no regard to personal liberties, declared its intention to introduce an ID card but later withdrew the clause to have biometric data stored in such cards.
Information Systems and Innovations Group at the London School of Economics (LSE) report identified key areas of concern with the Blair government’s plans, which included their high risk and likely high cost, coupled with technological and human rights issues. The report noted that the government’s proposals “are too complex, technically unsafe, overly prescriptive and lacks a foundation of public trust and confidence”. While accepting that preventing terrorism is the legitimate role of the state, the report expressed doubts on whether ID cards would prevent terror attacks through identity theft.
In conclusion, the LSE report noted that
“…identity systems may create a range of new and unforeseen problems. These include the failure of systems, unforeseen financial costs, increased security threats and unacceptable imposition on citizens. The success of a national identity system depends on a sensitive, cautious and cooperative approach involving all key stakeholder groups, including an independent and rolling risk assessment and a regular review of management practices. We are not confident that these conditions have been satisfied in the development of the Identity Cards Bill. The risk of failure in the current proposals is therefore magnified to the point where the scheme should be regarded as a potential danger to the public interest and to the legal rights of individuals.”
5. We do NOT want to re-live history
In the beginning of 20th century, Eugenics laws were prevalent in Germany and USA which allowed the government to forcefully sterilize handpicked ethnic groups. Government together with its so called “social workers” used to decide which newborn baby should live and which one should not! Biometric data coupled with Eugenics technology may end up in a Neo-Nazi era and we do NOT want that to happen in India.
6. Proclamation of Independence – Saying ‘NO’ to UID
In conclusion, I would like to proclaim my independence from this horrendously tyrannical government and I here by refuse and reject Aadhaar Card. At the same time, please consider this as my humble, sturdy and strongest appeal to shut down Unique Identification Authority of India with immediate effect and divert the allocated humongous funds towards productive and needful projects to uplift the poor so as to narrow down the gap between haves and have-nots.
NB: Readers are requested to take printouts and send it to the Prime Minister. Printer friendly files are available for download below. Not copy righted; feel free to post it in your blogs as yours or link back here, modify or use as is or with your name. Spread the message and defeat the evil.