Parliamentary Committee is categorical that the Central Govt’s
Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) constituted for the purpose
of collating the two schemes namely, the UID and National
Population Register (NPR), has failed. Together with UID,
Central Government is creating NPR by collecting information on
specific characteristics of all usual residents in the country.
The NPR would also have photographs, 10 finger prints and 2 IRIS
prints of all usual residents who are of age 5 years and above.
Citizens’ opposition to UID and NPR has a historical context. It
is also a historical fact that Mahatma Gandhi was against
identification based on biometric data in his days of struggle
in South Africa in the early part of last century. He had burnt
the biometric identity card. A government which insincerely
swears by his name stands exposed because of launching projects
which were opposed Gandhiji.
recent interview to the press, the Director General and Mission
Director of the UIDAI had admitted that fingerprints are likely
not to work for authentication. The error rate could end up
excluding up to 15% of the population. Despite this UIDAI is
going ahead with the exercise.
absence of a law to deal with security and confidentiality of
information, imposition of obligation of disclosure of
information in certain cases, impersonation at the time of
enrolment, investigation of acts that constitute offences and
unauthorised disclosure of information, the UID project is a
dangerous project. The Parliamentary Report notes the absence of
a feasibility study, no cost-benefit assessment, uncertain and
untested technology, an enrolment process that has national
security repercussions, the lack of data protection and privacy
legislation and the disrespect for Parliament by going ahead
with a project that was pending parliamentary approval.
Parliamentary Committee considering the National Identification
Authority of India (NIDAI) Bill has presented its report to the
Parliament. The report rejects biometric data based
identification of Indians. The report is a severe indictment of
the hasty and `directionless' project which has been
"conceptualised with no clarity of purpose".
Parliamentary Committee has found the biometric technology being
used by UIDAI and National Population Register is `uncertain'
Memorandum of Understanding signed by the State Governments with
the UIDAI had no prior consultation with the citizens and was
done in the most non transparent manner. This must be
has entered into contracts with companies like Accenture and
Safran Group that are providing similar services to Security
Departments of US, France, China and South Korea. This has
dangerous possibilities. Is it a coincidence that Lyon, France
based Ronald K Noble, Secretary General, INTERPOL, world's
largest police organisation too has called for global electronic
e-ID identity card system?
Population Register projects do not have any constitutional,
legal or democratic basis. There is a growing civil disobedience
movement against the Unique Identification/Aadhaar number
project and protect individual liberty and dignity of the
Parliamentary Committee on Finance has held that UID project is
against all accepted norms of Rule of Law and fundamental rights
guaranteed under the Constitution of India.
Number project is in violation of Right to Life and Personal
Liberty as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of
collection of sensitive Biometric and personal data of the
citizens of India by a number of private organizations is an
assault on civil liberty and must be immediately halted.
Governments and other agencies ought to note that UIDAI has been
trying to push for the adoption of the UID through multiple
committees of several ministries and for the re-engineering of
current systems to fit the requirements of the UID.
and NPR is based on biometric and retinal profile procured from
people. This is the most repulsive aspect of UID/Aadhaar
project. Any biometric profile directly violates the very
dignity and privacy of Indian citizens which is guaranteed by
the Indian Constitution. What is normally used for terrorists
and criminals is now sought to be used against the common
citizens of this country.
mean that the state has lost confidence in its people and wants
a criminal profile of all its citizens? Can there be a more
shameful aspect of the state intrusion into individual privacy?
Supreme Court’s judgement dated July 4, 2011 upheld Right to
Privacy as Right to Life. Disregarding this government seems to
be acting under the influence of surveillance technology
companies and biometric technology companies.
should be noted that the Parliamentary Committee has taken on
board studies done in the UK on the identity scheme that was
begun and later withdrawn in May 2010, where the problems were
identified to include "(a) huge cost involved and possible cost
overruns; (b) too complex; (c) untested, unreliable and unsafe
technology; (d) possibility of risk to the safety and security
of citizens; and (e) requirement of high standard security
measures, which would result in escalating the estimated
operational costs." Countries like China, Australia, and
Philippines have also rejected it. Why is there deafening and
inexcusable silence about it?
(Gopal Krishna is a Member of "Citizens Forum for Civil
Liberties". He can be contacted by email: email@example.com)