Sep 062010
 
 September 6, 2010  Non-U.S., Surveillance

India’s Unique Identification System (UID) continues to be controversial. The government, of course, insists that there are adequate privacy and security controls. PTI reports:

The Unique Identification System had an inbuilt security and privacy component that ensured that the data from the data bank could not be accessed except on grounds like national security, Unique Identification Authority of India Chairman Nandan Nilekani said today. The UID data base could not be read except for authentication and could not be accessed easily, he said. …. The project,which attempts to give a unique identity number to the country”s over billion people and expected to be rolled out shortly, would help in delivery of government”s welfare schemes, boost financial inclusion beside enabling other service providers like banks, insurance, to tap on the UID for authentication purposes. He said the UID could also help in setting up of micro ATMs as part of the government”s objective of bringing in financial inclusion.

Activists, however, are not persuaded. Sreelatha Menon reports:

Members of the National Advisory Council (NAC) and other organisations have expressed their dissent against the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) — the nodal agency responsible for implementing Aadhaar.

The Central Employment Guarantee Council (CEGC)) had also raised concerns, objecting to the linking of the UIDAI project to the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme.

In a letter addressed to Rural Development Minister C P Joshi last week, Jean Dreze and Aruna Roy, members of the CEGC and NAC raised objections to the ministry’s decision to link UID to job cards without consulting the council.

[…]

Dreze told Business Standard that UID is a national security project in the garb of a social policy initiative. “I am opposed to the UID project on grounds of civil liberties. Let us not be naive. This is not a social policy initiative — it is a national security project.”

Read more in the Business Standard.

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