Nikhil Pahwa reports:
A Parliamentary Standing Committee report on Finance has detailed out significant issues with the way India’s Unique Identity project was conceptualized and executed, stating that there was no clear purpose, lacked proper study before being approved, conflicted with existing initiatives, had issues related to privacy, circumvented Parliament, among other issues. It has recommended, on finding that the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010 in its present form unacceptable, that the data collected so far be transferred to the National Population Register, and the government reconsider and review the UID scheme and bring forth a fresh legislation before Parliament. With this, the UID project, which might have addressed the high cost of Know Your Customer verification, risks delays and perhaps even cancellation.
With respect to privacy concerns, Pahwa reports:
“The collection of biometric information and its linkage with personal information of individuals without amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955 as well as the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, appears to be beyond the scope of subordinate legislation, which needs to be examined in detail by Parliament”. In addition “In the absence of data protection legislation, it would be difficult to deal with the issues like access and misuse of personal information, surveillance, profiling, linking and matching of data bases and securing confidentiality of information etc.” The law is at a draft stage, and the UIDAI began collecting data without protections being in place.