For the past few weeks when I talk to people, both online and offline, about the threats of Aadhaar/UID project I have been getting mixed responses. Of which the majority are leaning towards the project for those reasons that are “served” but the government through the mainstream corporate media. Ironically, some of the people that I had talked to tried to match the situation similar to the protests made by communist party of Kerala against computers and mechanized harvesting tools. Interestingly, I could see tremendous hope in general public; a hope that UID can wipe out corruption, poverty and also bring development. The explanations I got were all about preventing minor frauds which may cause damage not worth more than Rs.5000.
Apparently, none of the articles that talk about the threats of UID are convincing enough to wake the general public from hallucination. I realize that, there is a great amount of truth in the saying that, “one lives in the prison of their own imaginations”.
Edward Bernays in his famous book ‘Propaganda’ rightly said
“…The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”
I tried to articulate all the potential risks in my protest letter to Prime Minister, but looking at the comment of a reader I got flabbergasted! It says, “Not a single practical risk comes forward from your article” It clearly shows that how much general pubic values their privacy rights, how much lessons they learned from history, how much proactive they want to be and above all how much well informed and alert they are.
It is that comment which motivated me to write this article; I take it as my failure to express my thoughts in more convincing manner for a wider audience with out taking their level of information for granted. Let me tell you upfront that unless you are ready to spare 3 or 4 hours to go over the videos and links that I’m going to provide below, you will never able to get the bigger picture and remain ignorant about the threats.
The following two videos will give you a 30 minute crash course about the huge risk involved in having a centralized database of all people just like a prison database or earmarks in cattle farms. It has good explanation of Eugenics and how it was used in the history.
The above footages are copied from Alex Jone’s Documentary “End Game”. To date this documentary on YouTube has 1,529,158 views. Alex Jones is an activist/Radio host/Documentary film maker who is fighting against the tyrannical and oppressive government of USA. For more info visit http://www.infowars.com or his YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/TheAlexJonesChannel
Biometrics, Turning a ‘Citizen’ into a ‘Subject’:
Usha Ramanathan ( 2 videos give you great level of information in 30-40 mts)
(A comprehensive analysis by Rediff Business)
The above article narrates a wide range of 11 different identities of Nandan nilekani which not many people know about. Some snippets from the article
He is head of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is functioning without legislative approval either at the Centre or in the states and has signed contracts with US companies like L1 Identities Solution that works with US intelligence agencies.
An industry document titled ‘Homeland Security in India’ underlines the connection between UID number and National Intelligence Grid (NAGRID). It is public knowledge that NATGRID chief Capt. Raghu Raman, wishes to hand over ‘internal security’ of the country to the ‘commercial czars’ and recommends ‘private territorial armies’ to safeguard ‘corporate empires’.
Aren’t we aware that UID number is a component of the World Bank’s partnership with six multinational companies and two governments that was announced by the bank in Washington? Do we really believe that the World Bank works to promote our national interest?
WikiLeaks cables reveal how the US State department is interested in knowing about India’s unique identification program, a biometric database of the world’s largest democracy.
Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan has alleged commercial motive behind the State government decision to implement the Unique Identification (UID) number project Aadhaar
This article has put together two different views. One from the stand point of general public through Supreme Court lawyer Pavan Dugal, and the other, from corporate stand point through Nasscom president Som Mittal.
“Linked with surveillance in public places and with all people registered with the Aadhaar system, tracking every activity of any or every citizen will be merely a matter of money and technology. This will irreversibly change the relationship between the State and its people, confirming the State as the master when the Constitution of India envisages precisely the opposite.”
The UID project has been integrated with the Home Ministry’s National Population Register (NPR). [NPR does not ensure privacy, data collected is publicly accessible]
The report of UIDAI’s “Biometrics Standards Committee” notes that “fingerprint quality, the most important variable for determining de-duplication accuracy, has not been studied in depth in the Indian context.”
High-cost, high-risk (by R. Ramakumar Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.)
In this article you will read some history around this project and critical analysis.
What is the social benefit of centralizing all information and access to welfare schemes into one smart card? Unfortunately, the UPA government has skipped public debate around criticisms and alternative suggestions.
This video will give you a clear idea of how biometrics is been used by USA defense department to keep track of law offenders and criminals.
People should learn about their rights and understand that we the people are neither Slaves nor the government is our Master. We are NOT governed by the Government but we are all governed by The Constitution. Value the rights granted by The Constitution, at the same time stand up to DEFEND those rights from erosion. Enormous power granted to the rulers has historically been disastrous to the people. If you have seen the first two videos you will not need any better explanation. Decentralization of power is the key of democracy. It is for the same reason why we have upper and lower houses of parliament who makes law and a President to give assent and a Supreme Court to interpret that law. Isn’t this centralization of data and reversing the role of government from servant to master a “Practical Risk”?
As you saw in the last video USA keeps a database of biometric information of criminals in order to trace them. Now UID project in India is going to treat everybody the same way as USA treats criminals!
Nick Clegg, UK’s deputy prime minister said in his speech in British Parliament,
“It is outrageous that decent, law-abiding people are regularly treated as if they have something to hide. It has to stop. So there will be no ID card scheme.”
Aren’t you empowering the government to treat you like a criminal even before you commit a crime? Isn’t this a practical risk?
How many of you trust those rulers in the parliament where more than 60% have multiple criminal charges on them? Black money in Swiss bank alone is over Rs.140, 000 crores. How much black money do you think will be in other foreign and domestic banks and also in other forms of wealth? How responsible do you think these people will take care of your personal data? Isn’t this a practical risk?
I would say, UPA has bullied 1.2 billion people with tremendously great skills!!! Read the book mentioned above, “Propaganda”, to know how did they mold your thoughts to believe that it is a great project? Are people of India OK with dictators? The whole Aadhaar project has not gotten legislative approval yet, which means its ILLEGAL. And the responsible pseudo-intellectual citizens are applauding it! How many of those pro-uid folks have read the THE NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION AUTHORITY OF INDIA BILL, 2010? They baselessly think that this magic number will stop corruption, illegal migrants and terrorism! Clause 6 of this bill says
“The aadhaar number or the authentication thereof shall not, by itself, confer any right of or be proof of citizenship or domicile in respect of an aadhaar number holder”.
It never says that this number is to be given only to the citizens! The statement of objects and reasons of the bill states that
“The Central Government had decided to issue unique identification numbers to all residents in India and to certain other persons.”
Who are these “certain other persons”? And the said bill mysteriously didn’t provide any “Reasons” for this project! There is no mention about what problem this project is trying to solve. What alternatives do we have to solve that problem? And there are plenty of questions that need to be answered before spending huge amount of money and inviting huge unforeseen risks. But why are the government collecting data without getting the legislative approval? Did you ever see such enthusiasm in any other government projects? Isn’t it a Practical Risk to override the standard procedures of law making? Isn’t it a Practical Risk to give UIDs to any resident who applied; regardless of whether or not s/he is an illegal migrant?
We do have not too old history of a government which suspended the Constitution and IMPOSED the state of emergency on the people by first woman prime minister of India. That resulted in hundreds and thousands of custodial deaths, rapes and abuse of civic liberties. Once all your daily activities and bank accounts are linked to UID and a particular future government says, “You can’t do more than Rs.500 transaction per day, failing which Rs25 for every extra Rs.100 will be taken out from your bank account and credited to the government”, then what options do you have? If the government starts charging exorbitant amount of taxes and levies for everything then what options do you have? If you say NO, your daily life will precisely come to a dead halt! Aren’t those Practical Risks that we the people may face from a tyrannical government?
Now, do you still want to equate highly sensitive biometric data (which ties a person to bureaucracy) to credit card or a $1000 transaction! Do you still want to equate Aadhaar threats with a threat from a pick-pocket? In a country where we have a completely broken down criminal justice system coupled with extremely corrupted law enforcement system one has to be a retarded, not even a fool, to believe the risks can be mitigated through legislation! At present police are fabricating any sort of evidences to trap innocents, but many of those can be effectively challenged in the court. False cases filed against Ruchika’s brother are classic examples. Once UID is linked to everyone’s daily activities, bank account, medical records and everything, what are the chances that you can think of for a police officer to make fool-proof evidences against an innocent person? Will it help the poor more or the elites to do any crime and get away with it?
After the implementation of UID,
- What are the chances that you can get LPG without being given it to someone else for a day or two by the agency?
- What are the chances that all the PDS shops have UID verification devices?
- If all the PDS shops have UID verification devices what are the chances that the system works when someone wants to buy something?
- What are the chances that electricity outage, telephone/network outage block a person from getting the service?
- What are the chances that the service providers intentionally break the system down to deny the service?
- What are the chances that someone else avail the service in your name and you get trapped in cases which you cannot prove otherwise?
- Schools do collect information regarding religion, caste race, language; Banks collect income information and what are the chances that future generations won’t face another holocaust, forced sterilization or repeat another Rwanda?
- This list will go on based on how well your criminal brain works; but my point is there is nothing much you can expect out of this project other than surrendering your sovereignty and making the State, a more powerful Master.
I’m not against e-governance or any thing that improve efficiency but that process should not infringe upon our civil rights and liberties. PAN cards made a big difference in tax collection, but not at the cost of privacy. The data is not accessible even through Right To Information Act. So should every department. We should draw the line at the right place so that liberty and security can prosper together.
Late Roger Needham, a British computer scientist, aptly said,
‘If you think IT is the solution to your problem, then you don’t understand IT, and you don’t understand your problem either.’
Please post the letter to the prime minister.