By Shyam Divan
(Firstpost is reprinting this article by advocate Shyam Divan, who passionately argues the case against the Aadhaar biometrics project and is also a petitioner in the case. Aadhaar can seriously damage the citizen’s right to privacy and change the balance of power between citizen and state to the former’s disadvantage. This article was first printed in MoneyLife magazine and based on a talk by Divan in Bangalore earlier this month).
Read the article on Firstpost. The article is an excellent one if you’ve been meaning to find out what Aadhaar is and why it is of concern to privacy advocates. Here’s a snippet of Divan’s powerful commentary:
Aadhaar is wrong because it compromises the bodily integrity of each of us by snatching away an intimate aspect of our physical identity. It is wrong because it is no part of the business of the government of India to create a vast data bank of biometrics that can be used and abused against Indians. The Aadhaar project with its enormous potential of surveillance alters the relationship between citizen and state. It tilts the balance so steeply in favour of government that a citizen whose biometrics are controlled by the state is permanently condemned to submission. Her tastes, her habits, her routines, her provocations are all known or can be known by the state. A central bank of biometric data robs individuals of dignity assured by the Preamble to the Constitution. It also gives an inordinate amount of power to those in government controlling the levers of power against every outsider. The Constitution of India has a morality (which occasionally our Justices fail to discern) but which I believe prohibits an Orwellian state.