Media, Radia Tapes & UID Number, a tool for holocaust in India?

To

The Editor
DNA

Subject-Media, Radia Tapes & UID Number, a tool for holocaust in India?

Apropos of "Is UIDN a tool for holocaust?" (November 28, 2010, DNA) authored by Nirad Mudur, Associate Editor, DNA Newspaper, it is quite clear that he has not done his homework while attributing benevolent motives to a regressive and malevolent project like UID Number.

(The story is available here:

Mudur says, "UIDN is NOT an identity proof." His contention is factually incorrect.

According to the Press Brief for National launch of Unique Identification Numbers (Aadhaar) issued by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), “The Aadhaar number will ease these difficulties in identification, by providing a nationally valid and verifiable single source of identity proof. The UIDAI will ensure the uniqueness of the Aadhaar numbers through the use of biometric attributes (Finger Prints and Iris) which will be linked to the number”. This release was issued on 29th September 2010 when Unique Identification Numbers (Aadhaar) was first distributed by Dr Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi.

Mudur says, "what is the guaranteed that the already existing 15 identity proofs (including voters’ identity card or ration card) mentioned by Gopal Krishna will not be tapped to identify minorities to launch a holocaust-like pogrom?"

The answer to this question is there in Government of India's Draft Discussion Paper on Privacy Bill which  states, “Data privacy and the need to protect personal information is almost never a concern when data is stored in a decentralized manner. Data that is maintained in silos is largely useless outside that silo and consequently has a low likelihood of causing any damage."

As to Mudur's blind faith in the US system, he has not checked relevant facts. Draft Discussion paper on Privacy Law reveals, “There is no data protection statute in the country” unlike the U.S. Federal Privacy Statute or the European Directive on Data Protection.

The US passed a Federal law (the REAL ID Act, 2005) requiring the States to allow the Federal Department of Homeland Security to access State databases such as drivers’ licences and motor vehicle registration. Mudur must take note that not a single State has ratified this Act, and 25 States have passed legislations to exclude themselves from its purview.

Not only that a confidential working paper titled “Creating a Unique Identity Number for Every Resident in India” was recently posted on the transparency website Wikileaks. The leaked document admitted, “the UID database will be susceptible to attacks and leaks at various levels”. Profiling on the lines religious, racial or caste identity has led to violence against Asians and Muslims in US and Australia.

Based on his touching faith in government systems, Mudur meekly says that Nazi Germany condition is unlikely, "a situation that may never arise in a widely diverse India, US or Australia." Such faith is hardly a rational explanation for his misplaced inference about UID Number.

I must submit that "propaganda based on suspicion and half-knowledge" has been launched by the beneficiaries of UID Number. 

Not surprisingly, UIDAI has also hired a public relations agency with an objective to “Provide consistent flow of information across all mediums to create the right perception of UIDAI and Aadhaar throughout the country”; one such agency has created a stalemate in the Parliament. 

One editor of a financial daily too is a great supporter UID Number. We were not surprised to find his name in the Radia Tapes. 

UID Number is an attempt to convert a resident into a number, Indian population into a market and then citizens in to subjects. Mudur says, "government’s fault lies in not ensuring a series of open discussions on the project before launching it." Is it an innocent fault or a grave and unpardonable sin?

If all was so well besides this "fault" why was  National Identification Authority of India Bill introduced in Parliament after the constitution of the UIDAI and appointment of Nandan Nilekani as its Chairman in the rank and status of a Cabinet Minister?

The Bill seeks to provide statutory status to the UIDAI which has been functioning (by awarding contracts to US companies like Accenture and L1 Identities Solution)without backing of law since January 2009 and seeks legitimacy for its previous work.

Gopal Krishna
Member
Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties
New Delhi

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