Home Ministry’s Population Register worse than Prisoner Identification, precedes Privacy Bill
From: Gopal Krishna <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, Nov 12, 2011 at 4:18 PM
Subject: Home Ministry’s Population Register worse than Prisoner Identification, precedes Privacy Bill
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu
Through Shri P.P.K. Ramacharyulu Joint Secretary, PSC on Home Affairs
Subject- Home Ministry’s Population Register worse than Prisoner Identification, precedes Privacy Bill
Pursuant to my letter to you dated April, 20, 2011, this is to draw your attention towards how the proposed Biometric Data based National Population Register (NPR), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) precedes the enactment of the proposed Privacy Bill, 2011. This represents an act of “illegitimate advances of the state” in the words of Shri Nick Clegg UK's Deputy Prime Minister perhaps at the behest of the transnational businesses involved in sale of biometric technology. The Draft Privacy Bill, 2011 is attached.
I submit that quite like prisoners whose biometric data like finger prints can be collected only under the Identification of Prisoners Act, it is quite outrageous that NPR is taking biometric data of every resident and citizen of India disregarding absence of any legislative mandate for it. The Identification of Prisoners Act and Prisons Act is attached.
I wish to draw your attention towards how Government of Gujarat has stopped collection of biometric data for creation of the NPR for the last three months. As soon as other state governments realize that NPR and Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhhar are linked because column 7 of Aadhaar Enrolement refers to it, they too will disassociate and unsign the MoUs they have signed. As per a front page news report of the Indian Express, Chief Minister of Gujarat has written to the Prime Minister questioning the need for such enumeration. ("In reply to PC letter, Modi writes to PM: Why biometrics for NPR?", Indian Express, October 6, 2011). In the it has rightly been pointed out that “there is no mention of capturing biometrics in the Citizenship Act or Citizenship Rules 2009”. The same hold true for collection biometric data under UID/Aadhaar plan. The biometric data based identification and mapping exercise is explained in a 8 page story. A cover story in Hindi is attached.
It has been noted that “In the absence of any provision in the Citizenship Act, 1955, or rules for capturing biometrics, it is difficult to appreciate how the capture of biometrics is a statutory requirement. Photography and biometrics is only mentioned in the Manual of Instructions for filling up the NPR household schedule and even in that there is no mention of capturing the Iris”.
I submit that in the case of prisoners their biometric data is required to be destroyed on their acquittal but in the case of NPR and Centralized Identities Register (CIDR) of Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar Number, the same will be recorded for ever. Are residents and citizens worse than prisoners?As per the Citizenship Act, 1955 is “an Act to provide for the acquisition and determination of Indian citizenship”. The Citizenship Rules, 2009 provides for creation of a Register of citizens saying, “The Central Government shall maintain a register containing the names and other details of the persons registered or naturalised as citizen of India”. The Act and the Rules do not provide for creation of Citizens Register based on without biometric data. As a consequence what the Union Home Ministry is through NPR is without any legal mandate. The same hold true for National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) which is under construction. It is not meant to be accountable to the Parliament and to the citizens.
According to the Manual of Instructions for filling up of the NPR Household Schedule, 2011 prepared by the Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner (ORG&CCI), Union Ministry of Home Affairs, the objectives of NPR involves “Collection of personal details of all residents of the country and Capture of photograph and finger prints of all residents who are of age 15 years and above in villages/urban areas.” The data collection for preparation of NPR is undertaken along with the House listing Operations of Census 2011. It categorically states that “NPR will contain the details of all the ’usual residents’ of the country regardless of whether they are citizens or non-citizens.” If that is the case how can it qualify to be an act under the Citizenship Act and Rules given the fact that the Register will have both citizens and non-citizens?
As per the Manual, NPR’s utility lies in creation of “a comprehensive identity database in the country. This would not only strengthen security of the country but also help in better targeting of the benefits and services under the Government schemes/programmes and improve planning.” It further states, “It may be noted that nationality declared by respondent does not confer any right to Indian Citizenship”. In such a case isn’t Census itself quite sufficient for it?
In fact Census Commissioner is supposed to gather the data of population under the Census Act, 1948 on the pre-condition that it would be kept secret and it will not be revealed even to the courts.
Unlike the data collected under Census Act which is confidential as per Section 15 of the Act, the provisions of the Citizenship Act and the citizenship or nationality Rules that provides the basis for creation of the Register of citizens do not provide for confidentiality. The fact is that there is no mention of capturing biometrics in the Citizenship Act or Citizenship Rules. It is clear that the collection of biometrics is not a statutory requirement. This is not permissible under also Collection of Statistics Act. But both Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and ORG&CCI which are creating the NPR are collecting biometric data as well. It is not a question of duplication alone; it is a question of treating citizens worse than prisoners.
The Identification of Prisoners Act provides that “Every person who has been, (a) convicted of any offence punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term of one year or upwards, or of any offence which would render him liable to enhanced punishment on a subsequent conviction, or (b) ordered to give security for his good behaviour under Section 118 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, shall, if so required, allow his measurements and photograph to be taken by a Police Officer in the prescribed manner.” The Act is available on Internet.
It further provides that “Any person who has been arrested in connection with an offence punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term of one year or upwards shall, if so required by a police officer, allow his measurements to be taken in the prescribed manner.”
As per Section 5 of the Act, “If a Magistrate is satisfied that, for the purposes of any investigation or proceeding under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, it is expedient to direct any person to allow his measurements or photograph to be taken, he may make an order to the effect, and in that case the person to whom the order relates shall be produced or shall attend at the time and place specified in the order and shall allow his measurements or photograph to be taken, as the case may be, by a police officer:”
I submit that in order to provide for a dignified treatment of the citizens of India respecting their privacy, Section 15 of the Census Act establishes that “Records of census not open to inspection nor admissible in evidence”. It reads: No person shall have a right to inspect any book, register or record made by a census-officer in the discharge of his duty as such, or any schedule delivered under section 10 and notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, no entry in any such book, register, record or schedule shall be admissible as evidence in any civil proceeding whatsoever or in any criminal proceeding other than a prosecution under this Act or any other law for any act or omission which constitutes an offence under this Act." Demolishing this dignity of the citizens, the Union Home Ministry is dehumanizing citizens by according them a status inferior to that of prisoners.
As per Section 7 of Identification of Prisoners Act, “Where any person who, not having been previously convicted of an offence punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term of one year or upwards, has had his measurements taken or has been photographed in accordance with the provisions of this Act is released without trial or discharged or acquitted by any court, all measurements and all photographs (both negatives and copies) so taken shall, unless the court or (in a case where such person is released without trial) the District Magistrate or Sub-divisional Officer for reasons to be recorded in writing otherwise directs, be destroyed or made over to him.”
But if one looks at the definition of the "Biometrics" which “means the technologies that measure and analyse human body characteristics, such as ’fingerprints’, ’eye retinas and irises’, ’voice patterns’, "facial patterns’, ’hand measurements’ and ’DNA’ for authentication purposes” as per Information Technology (Reasonable security practices and procedures and sensitive personal data or information) Rules, 2011 under section 87 read with section 43A of Information Technology Act, 2000. It may be noted that last date of bid submission for opening of bids for biometric enrolment was 8th Nov 2011. The rural bids and urban bids for biometric enrolment were supposed to be opened on 9th Nov 2011. Even as these exercises are unfolding, the fact remains biometric data like finger print, voice print, iris scan and DNA do not reveal citizenship.
I submit that officially Union Home Ministry’s NPR which is mentioned in Column 7 of the Aadaar/UID Enrolment Form seeks NPR Survey Slip No. is aimed at creating a comprehensive database of all usual residents in India based on digitization of demographic data captured during house listing operation in 2010 and collection of biometric data (photo, 10 fingerprints, iris of both eyes) for age 5+. Census Commissioner who is ex-officio Registrar General of India (RGI) has awarded the NPR project to Department of Information Technology for 19 States and 2 Union Territories that covers a total population of 49 crores in urban and 13 crores in rural areas, 74 zones and 410 districts.
It is relevant to note that Section 2 of the Information Technology Act defines "data" as “a representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts or instructions which are being prepared or have been prepared in a formalised manner, and is intended to be processed, is being processed or has been processed in a computer system or computer network, and may be in any form (including computer printouts magnetic or optical storage media, punched cards, punched tapes) or stored internally in the memory of the computer.” It does not explicitly mention biometric data but given the fact that it refers to “whatever can be processed in a computer system or computer network, and may be in any form or stored” it seems implicitly included.
It may be noted that these exercises precede the proposed enactment of 36 page Privacy Bill, 2011 that defines "Record" as "any item, collection, or grouping of information about an individual that is maintained by an agency, including, but not limited to, his education, financial transactions, medical history, and criminal or employment history and that contains his name, or the identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual, such as a finger or voice print or photograph or DNA" in its Section 2 (p). The Bill defines "surveillance as covertly following a person or watching a person, placing secret listening or filming devices near him, or using informants to obtain personal information about him" in Section 2 (o). Section 60 (1) refers to “National Data Controller Registry” that is proposed to be established as “an online database” and “appropriate electronic authentication protocols”. It may be noted that DNA Profiling Bill is also in the pipeline.
It is not made clear as to how is “Central Identities Data Repository” being prepared by UIDAI and also proposed by NIAI Bill related to "National Data Controller Registry" which is envisaged under Privacy Bill, 2011. The NIAI Bill defines CIDR as "a centralised database in one or more locations containing all aadhaar numbers issued to aadhaar number holders along with the corresponding demographic information and biometric information of such individuals and other information". Illustrating how right to privacy is being reduced to electronic services, Section 48 of the Information Technology Act and Section 2 of the Privacy Bill provide for the Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal.
With the information infrastructure related instruments unfolding, “This government will end the culture of spying on its citizens. It is outrageous that decent, law-abiding people are regularly treated as if they have something to hide. It has to stop. So there will be no ID card scheme. No national identity register, a halt to second generation biometric passports,” UK’s Deputy Prime Minister Shri Nick Clegg said in a speech in British House of Commons. He added, “We won’t hold your internet and email records when there is just no reason to do so. Britain must not be a country where our children grow up so used to their liberty being infringed that they accept it without question. Schools will not take children’s fingerprints without even asking their parent’s consent. This will be a government that is proud when British citizens stand up against illegitimate advances of the state.” The speech of the British Deputy Prime Minister is available on the internet; the India’s Union Home Minister ought to be persuaded to take note of it to avoid the fate of Shri Tony Blair and his UK’s Identity Cards Act, 2006. Both have been abandoned.
Unlike UK, as per ORG&CCI, NPR process include collection of details including biometrics such as photograph, 10 fingerprints and Iris information for all persons aged 15 years and above. This is be done by arranging camps at every village and at the ward level in every town. Each household is required to bring the Acknowledgement Slip to such camps. In the next step, data is printed out and displayed at prominent places within the village and ward for the public to see. After authentication, the lists are sent to the UIDAI for de-duplication and issue of UID Numbers. The cleaned database along with the UID Number will then be sent back to the ORG&CCI and form the NPR.
It is evident that ORG&CCI has amalgamated its two independent mandates using two Forms for each household in India. The first form relates to the House listing and Housing Census that has 35 questions relating to Building material, Use of Houses, Drinking water, Availability and type of latrines, Electricity, possession of assets etc. The second form relates to the NPR that has 14 questions including name of the person, gender, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, name of father, name of mother, name of spouse, present address, duration of stay at present address, permanent address, occupation, nationality as declared, educational qualification and relationship to head of family. There are 10 columns in the Aadaar/UID Enrolment Form.
ORG&CCI admits that “all information collected under the Census is confidential and will not be shared with any agency - Government or private.” But it reveals that “certain information collected under the NPR will be published in the local areas for public scrutiny and invitation of objections. This is in the nature of the electoral roll or the telephone directory. After the NPR has been finalised, the database will be used only within the Government.”
While dual work of Census and NPR has blurred the line between confidential and non-confidential, UIDAI has gone ahead to seek consent for “sharing information provided…to the UIDAI with agencies engaged in delivery of welfare services" as per Column 9 of the UID/Aadhaar Enrolment Form. Unmindful of the consent given by residents of India (which is being ticked automatically by the enroler in any case as of now), the fact is this information being collected for creating CIDR and NPR is being handed over to private foreign biometric technology companies like Safran group, a French corporation with 30 % stake of French government. It has entered into a 40 year partnership with China as well.
It has come to light that Safran has opened an office in the Hindustan Times building in New Delhi. On July 19, 2011, L-1 Identity Solutions which has been awarded contract by UIDAI and is part of World Bank’s eTranform Initiative (for transformational government in 14 developing countries including India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and others) has been bought over by Safran after Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States resolved their national security concerns.
I submit that earlier a Statement of Concern by eminent citizens including former judges of the Supreme Court and High Court and academicians had sought halting of NPR and UID/Aadhaar like identification exercises that has called been rejected in countries like UK, China, USA, Philippines and Australia citing national security concerns and grave violation of civil liberties.
In such a context, the enactment of Privacy Bill, 2011 should precede initiatives like Public Information Infrastructure, NPR and UID/Aadhaar else the very purpose of the proposed legislation is defeated. Before the creation of Data Protection Authority of India (DPAI) as envisaged under Section 49 of the Privacy Bill and Central Electronic Services Delivery Commission (CESDC) under Section 8 of the Electronic Delivery of Services Bill, 2011 with proven impeccable judicial competence, the implementation of all biometric data collection related programs must be stopped both in private as well as in the government. The supersession of the adjudication by DPAI and CESDC in the proposed legislations compromises their independence and does not inspire confidence.
I wish to draw your attention towards a Washington Post news report "Supreme Court worries that new technology creates ‘1984’ scenarios" published on November 9, 2011 that records the deliberation in the US Supreme Court on November 8, 2011 merits attention. “You could tomorrow decide that you put a GPS device on every one of our cars, follow us for a month. No problem under the Constitution?” asked John G. Roberts Jr, Chief Justice of US Supreme Court. In an elaborate exchange in which the Big Brother of George Orwell’s novel “1984” was referenced six times and the nine judge bench wondered about a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy in such context. GPS device is a tracking device that utilizes the Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. The issue before the court is: Whether the US Constitution or any democratic constitution allows the Government to put a tracking device on a car without either a warrant or the owner’s permission. It is quite clear that NPR, RFID, UID/Aadhhar and proposed DNA Database is meant for tracking citizens for ever. Undertaking a surveillance or identification exercise on all the citizens of India is indeed a matter of judicial concern. Aren’t fellow citizens and Indian judiciary listening?
In such a backdrop, it is indeed quite alarming that Shri Ajit Kumar Seth, Cabinet Secretary, Government of India, Admiral Nirmal Varma, Chief of Naval Staff, Shri Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister Haryana and His Holiness Dalai Lama have already enrolled for NPR linked UID/Aadhaar Number without the passage of the NIAI Bill and Privacy Bill.
I submit that UID/Aadhaar Number threatens to snatch the Right to Privacy of an individual. Every single aspect of an individual’s life will be recorded through the UID project. In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court had upheld that Right to Privacy is Right to Life and no government can take it away from its people.
In a letter dated October 31, 2011 to Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, I have pointed out the grave concerns about Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) too in the matter of permission for the implementation of RFID based Electronic Toll Collection as per the recommendation of a committee headed by Shri Nandan Nilkeni, Chairman, UIDAI, Planning Commission. In effect, this amounts to tagging all the vehicles with RFID and tracking their movement. It will enable spying on us without our consent. It has been reported that the scheme is expected to commence either on New Delhi-Chandigarh-Parwanu National Highway (NH) or New Delhi- Jalandhar NH.
I wish to draw your attention towards the notice issued by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to the Union Ministry of External Affairs in the matter of Indian students being tagged with RFID or Radio Collars by the US authorities. Both our External Affairs Minister and the Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs had termed such acts as unacceptable.
I submit that recently the former head of International Monetary Fund (IMF) was also made wear RFID or radio collars when he was arrested on charges of sexual assault.
I submit that RFID appears to be linked to Islamabad based National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) which was established in March 2000 to provide integrated homeland security solutions in Pakistan. NADRA has developed solutions based on Biometrics and RFID technology and has the largest IT infrastructure in Pakistan with highly qualified technical and managerial resources enabling NADRA to provide customized solutions to any country, as per its website. In Pakistan, RFID is being used for e–tolling in Motorways, implemented by NADRA.
I submit that like Shri Nilekani, Deputy Chairman NADRA, Shri Tariq Malik too was awarded in Milan, Italy at the ID WORLD International Congress, the Global Summit on Automatic Identification in 2009. Shri Nilekani was awarded at the ID WORLD International Congress in 2010. He was given the award "For being the force behind a transformational project ID project in India...and "to provide identification cards for each resident across the country and would be used primarily as the basis for efficient delivery of welfare services. It would also act as a tool for effective monitoring of various programs and schemes of the Government." It is now clear that these various programs and schemes include ETC based on RFID.
I wish to draw your attention towards the protest against RFID during the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) between the 16th to 18 November 2005 by the founder of the free software movement, Shri Richard Stallman who protested the use of RFID security cards.
I wish to draw you considered attention towards the fact that RFID stickers were recently detected in the office of our Union Finance Minister, which was widely reported in the media. It was reported (June 21, 2011, Indian Express) that on September 7, 2010, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Union Finance Minister wrote to Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh asking him to order a 'secret inquiry' into what he called a “serious breach of security” in his office: the presence of “planted adhesives” in 16 key locations as a possible surveillance act. These locations included the office of the Finance Minister himself, the office of his Advisor Ms Omita Paul, the office of his Private Secretary Shri Manoj Pant, and two conference rooms used by the Finance Minister, including the main conference hall on the ground floor of the heavily guarded North Block. This got revealed through counter-surveillance operation of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) that the adhesives were “planted” at critical places in the Finance Ministry which on closer examination showed grooves on the surface which indicate some “plantable adhesive substances” could have been pasted. The proposed RFID tags appear to be similar to the “plantable adhesive substances” as stickers being proposed for vehicles as part of implementation of ETC technology.
I also wish to bring a book SpyChips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID by Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre to your notice. The authors forewarn us of how we are being made to "imagine a world of no privacy. Where your every purchase is monitored and recorded in a database and your every belonging is numbered. Where someone many states away or perhaps in another country has a record of everything you have ever bought. What's more, they can be tracked and monitored remotely". The 270 page book has been published by Thomas Nelson Inc in 2005. It has been contended that RFID will impact our civilization in a deeper way than printing press, industrial revolution, light bulb, Internet and personal computers. The introduction of RFID marks the beginning of a world where everything and every place gets imbedded with RFID or spying micro chips.
I submit that RFID, NPR and UID projects are going to do almost exactly the same thing which the predecessors of Hitler did, else how is it that Germany always had the lists of Jewish names even prior to the arrival of the Nazis? The Nazis got these lists with the help of IBM which was in the 'census' business that included racial census that entailed not only count the Jews but also identifying them. At the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, there is an exhibit of an IBM Hollerith D-11 card sorting machine that was responsible for organising the census of 1933 that first identified the Jews.
I submit that the history of RFID can be traced to 1945 when Léon Theremin invented an espionage tool as a covert listening device which retransmitted radio waves with audio information. In the recent times, the largest deployment of active RFID has been done by the US Department of Defense. In 2009 researchers at Bristol University successfully glued RFID micro-transponders to live ants in order to study their behavior. RFID tags for animals represent one of the oldest uses of RFID technology.
Our NHRC has also expressed grave concerns regarding discrimination, protection of information and identity theft in its written submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance in the matter of biometric date based identification. It is reported in NHRC newsletter of August 2011. NHRC’s views are relevant for NPR as well.
I submit that these days newspapers are flooded with advertisements of Election Commission of India, UIDAI and NPR for providing ID proof. The former provides proof of citizenship the latter ones merely identifies their existence for commercial purposes. It appears that it has been left to thje wisdom of informed and enlightened citizens to decide which identity proof to adopt and which ones to reject.
In conclusion, I submit that my letter may be treated as a petition seeking urgent intervention before it is too late. I will be happy to share all the reference documents mentioned in my submission.
Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL)
Hon'ble Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs and Hon'ble members of Rajya Sabha & Lok Sabha
1 Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu Chairman Rajya Sabha
2 Shri Tariq Anwar Member Rajya Sabha
3 Shri Rishang Keishing Member Rajya Sabha
4 Dr. V. Maitreyan Member Rajya Sabha
5 Shri Prasanta Chatterjee Member Rajya Sabha
6 Dr. N. Janardhana Reddy Member Rajya Sabha
7 Shri D. Raja Member Rajya Sabha
8 Shri Naresh Chandra Agrawal Member Rajya Sabha
9 Shri S.S. Ahluwalia Member Rajya Sabha
10 Shri Javed Akhtar Member Rajya Sabha
11 Shri Baijayant Panda Member Lok Sabha
12 Shri Neeraj Shekhar Member Lok Sabha
13 Shri Dinesh Chandra Yadav Member Lok Sabha
14 Shri Naveen Jindal Member Lok Sabha
15 Ms Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar Member Lok Sabha
16 Shri Ramen Deka Member Lok Sabha
17 Shri Mohammad Asrarul Haque Member Lok Sabha
18 Shri Jitender Singh Malik Member Lok Sabha
19 Shri Lalubhai Babubhai Patel Member Lok Sabha
20 Shri Natubhai Gomanbhai Patel Member Lok Sabha
21 Shri L. Rajagopal Member Lok Sabha
22 Dr. Nilesh Narayan Rane Member Lok Sabha
23 Muhammed Hamdulla A. B. Sayeed Member Lok Sabha
24 Shri Ravneet Singh Member Lok Sabha
25 Shri Babu Lal Marandi Member Lok Sabha
26 Shri Bishnu Pada Ray Member Lok Sabha
27 Shri Khagen Das Member Lok Sabha
28 Shri Adhi Sankar Member Lok Sabha
29 Shri Lal Krishna Advani Member Lok Sabha
30 Shri Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary Member Lok Sabha
31 Shri Harsh Vardhan Member Lok Sabha
On Wed, 4/20/11, Gopal Krishna <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
From: Gopal Krishna <email@example.com>
Subject: Relation between NPR, NATGRID, UIDAIl, Wikileaks, World Bank & L-1 Identities Solution
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2011, 11:30 AM
Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs
Subject-Relation between NPR, NATGRID, UIDAIl, Wikileaks, World Bank & L-1 Identities Solution
This is with reference to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between The Registrar General of India which creating the National Population Register (NPR) and Unique Identification Number Authority of India (UIDAI) on 16th March, 2011.
I submit that as per the website of Census of India, "The Census is a statutory exercise conducted under the provisions of the Census Act 1948 and Rules made there under. The NPR is being created under the provisions of the Citizenship Act and Rules." (http://censusindia.gov.in/
As per the same website, "All information collected under the Census is confidential and will not be shared with any agency - Government or private." It further reveals that "Certain information collected under the NPR will be published in the local areas for public scrutiny and invitation of objections. This is in the nature of the electoral roll or the telephone directory. After the NPR has been finalised, the database will be used only within the Government."
The website states, "The data collected in the NPR will be subjected to de-duplication by the UIDAI. After de-duplication, the UIDAI will issue a UID Number. This UID Number will be part of the NPR and the NPR Cards will bear this UID Number." It claims that "The National Population Register would have the data of every person enumerated during the Census operations irrespective of age."
I submit that if data "enumerated during the Census operations" will be with NPR and "Certain information collected under the NPR will be published in the local areas for public scrutiny and invitation of objections. This is in the nature of the electoral roll or the telephone directory", how can confidentiality promised under Census be maintained.
In a letter to Chairman, Rajya Sabha, I have drawn his attention towards the proposal of Unique Identification (UID) Number for all Indian residents, National Identification Authority of India (NIAI) Bill, 2010 and other related proposed Bills. In the letter I have submitted that although the Bill has been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance but the Bill is related to other Parliamentary Committees like Home, External Affairs, Public Accounts, Agriculture, Information Technology, Commerce, Health, Human Resource Development, Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, Defence, Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Labour, Rural Development, Social Justice and Empowerment & others besides States and Election Commission of India. Therefore, it would be apt if all the existing Parliamentary Committees be requested to submit their considered views on the NIAI Bill. The letter is attached.
The MoU signed on 16th March 2011 must be looked at in the backdrop of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between L-1 and the World Bank at a World Bank Spring Meeting attended by many Ministers of Finance and Communications to improve the way governments in developing countries deliver services to their citizens as part of the launch of the World Bank eTransform Initiative (ETI).
It may be noted that L-1 Identity Solutions, a US biometric technology company works with US intelligence agencies as is revealed by its own website. This company too has signed a MOU with UIDAI on 30 July, 2010. It is claimed, “The UID will serve as a universal proof of identity, allowing residents to prove their credentials anywhere in the country.” What about the questions regarding the credentials of US companies?
I wish draw your attention towards Wikileaked 41 page document titled “Creating a unique identity number for every resident in India” marked “Confidential-Property of the UIDAI” on 13th November, 2009. This confidential document reads, “The Government of India undertook an effort to provide a clear identity to residents first in 1993, with the issue of photo identity cards by the Election Commission. Subsequently in 2003, the Indian Government approved the Multipurpose National Identity Card (MNIC).” This assertion is factually incorrect and has deliberately been made. The photo identity cards issued by the Election Commission are for citizens of India, not for any resident. For it says, “All residents in the country can be issued a unique ID. The UID is proof of identity and does not confer citizenship.” In this very document, it is mentioned that “UIDAI will be created as a statutory body under a separate legislation to fulfill its objectives.” Without this promised legislation, UIDAI has functioned and signed MOUs with national, multinational companies, state governments and other ministries from February 2009 till April 2011.
It appears to be a case of contempt towards our Parliament. Without the permission of the Parliament, it says, “UIDAI will be regulatory authority managing a Central ID Data Repository (CIDR), which will issue UID numbers, update resident information, and authenticate the identity of residents as required.”
The UIDAI will seek demographic and biometric information like Name, Date of birth, Place of birth, Gender, Father’s name, Father’s UID number (optional for adult residents), Mother’s name, Mother’s UID number (optional for adult residents), Address (Permanent and Present), Expiry date, Photograph and Finger prints. Now it also includes Iris scan etc. “The Authority will offer a strong form of online authentication, where agencies can compare demographic and biometric information of the resident with the record stored in the central database.” Whatever gets stored electronically will be leaked to the global public domain sooner or later. UIDAI makes utopian promise: “The UIDAI will not share resident data”. It claims that through UID Number “Eliminating duplication under various schemes is expected to save the government exchequer upwards of Rs. 20,000 crores a year.” It does not reveal how this figure arrived at? The UIDAI has not disclosed its estimated budget so far so one does not know at what cost the claimed saving will be made. “The UIDAI will start issuing UIDs in 12-18 months, and the Authority plans to cover 600 million people within 4 years from the start of the project”. This has commenced without the NIAI Bill having been passed. The UIDAI document disclosed by Wikileaks is attached.
It may also be noted that World Bank Chief, Robert B. Zoellick met the Chairman of the UID Number project on December 4, 2009.
I submit that even prior to the introduction of the NIAI Bill on 29th September 2010, the Prime Minister has already distributed UID Numbers (Aadhaar) among the villagers of Maharashtra. It admitted that “India will be the first country (in the world) to implement a biometric-based unique ID system for its residents on a national scale.”
It is noteworthy that even before the passage of the National Identification Authority of India (NIAI) Bill from the parliament, the authority has embarked upon:
• taking biometric and demographic data of Indian residents
• entering into MOUs with multiplicity of institutions including Banks, LIC, State governments to acts as Registrars,
• setting a process by which a large amount of data about the individuals will be collected and aggregated on the files of these Registrars,
• entering into contracts with corporations predominantly from the technology and biometric industry including those with close links with intelligence agencies in other countries: for instance, Accenture (which is working with US Homeland Security in their Smart Borders Project) and L1 Identity Solutions (whose main market, and recruitment ground, is the Central Intelligence Agency) . Their website reads: “American and foreign military services, defense and intelligence agencies rely on L-1 solutions and services to help determine ally from enemy”. The same US company was hired for “Implementation of Biometric Solution for UIDAI” from 30 July 2010
• another US company, Accenture Services Pvt. Ltd., has been hired for the “Implementation of Biometric Solution for UIDAI”. This company is “committed to helping the (US) Department of Homeland Security”. Its “solutions include developing prevention tactics, streamlining intelligence gathering and maximizing new technologies.”
The core idea is to ensure convergence of all the residents and institutions underway through Project UID, a Silicon Valley initiative (dominated by Information Technology companies) passing off as “Planning Commission initiative” without consultation at district and panchayat level and within the political parties to create a central database of residents and generate a unique identification number (UID) for all such residents which is proposed to be “used as the basis for identifying and authenticating a person's entitlement to government services and benefits”. This initiative is being steered by the Department of Information Technology (as the Line Ministry) through National Informatics Centre Services Inc/ National Informatics Centre (NIC), as the technical solution provider and a consultant for “linking of existing databases, as well as providing for future additions, by the user agencies.” This entails tracking and profiling residents electronically through some 53 departments of the Government of India, 35 State/UT Secretariats and 603 District collectorates. NIC was formed in 1975.
While UIDAI has been misleading the citizens and the media about the UID Number scheme being voluntary, the ‘Legal Framework For Mandatory Electronic Delivery of Services’ of Union Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, refers to “UIDAI – UID based authentication for services” as an enabler, thus making it compulsory.
An industry document titled “HOMELAND SECURITY IN INDIA” underlines the connection between UID number and National Intelligence Grid which has not been disclosed either by the UIDAI or in the NIAI Bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 3rd December.
The 22 page document says, “Given its increasing focus on Homeland security, the Government of India has initiated several steps...(one such) significant initiative is the ongoing drive to provide UID Number to all Indian citizens which is also aligned to the wider cause of intelligently networking the Indian ecosystem.”
This document has been prepared by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) with a membership of over 300,000 companies and KPMG, a transnational firm that operates in 140 countries which is affiliated to KPMG International, a Swiss agency.
Revealing the motive of the UID Number, Captain Raghu Raman, Chief Executive Officer, National Intelligence Grid under Union Home Ministry in his paper titled ‘A NATION OF NUMB PEOPLE’ says, “If the commercial czars don’t begin protecting their empires now, they may find the lines of control cutting across those very empires.” Raman who was the CEO of Mahindra Special Services Group and is the Chairman of ‘Safety and Security Committee’ of Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been entrusted the task of establishing the grid by May 2011. UIDAI has hired Accenture, Mahindra Satyam-Morpho and L1 Identity Solutions for implementation of the core biometric identification system. UID Number proposes to undo constitutional amendment on right to property by creating common land market and federalism by centralising the all the information.
This proposed NIAI Bill must be looked at along with other Bills in the offing such as Draft Land Titling Bill, 2010, Draft Paper on Privacy Bill, 2010, Draft DNA Profiling Act, 2007 and Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations (PIII) for a National Knowledge Network. Besides this National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid), meant to integrate existing 21 databases with Central and state government agencies and other organisations, and National Population Register (which is quite different from Census) will end up undertaking surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting of Indian residents.
PIII reveals the plot emphasizing digital network to process all kinds of information at all levels saying, “For government, PII is very important to first identify all beneficiaries, essentially people. We also at the same time need to identify all our physical assets all over the country, like primary schools, railway stations, hospitals. Then we also need to tag all our programes-and government typically would have hundreds of programs for public delivery systems. Once you tag people, places, and programs, then it is easier to really organise information for delivering public services. Hopefully, with new focus on PIII, where we could essentially tag people, tag places, tag programs, we will be able to structure delivery systems to get lot better productivity, efficiency, reduced cost.
The starting point for this nationwide network of fiber optics, wireless systems to connect 2, 50, 000 Panchayats all over the country especially in rural areas where ultimately information data gathering would begin. This is where beneficiaries are.” All this information will be in the hands of a few ‘trustworthy’ people in the government and few select companies. Such a situation is fraught with both unintended and intended consequences impacting monetary and non-monetary aspects of citizens’ life.
It may be noted that the Draft Land Titling Bill makes a provision for “Unique property identification number”, linking UID Number with property.
While such legislations are underway, the Draft Discussion Paper on Privacy Bill states, “There is no data protection statute in the country.” On UID Number, the Draft Paper on Privacy Bill 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. However, all this is likely to change with the implementation of the UID Project. One of the inevitable consequences of the UID Project will be that the UID Number will unify multiple databases. As more and more agencies of the government sign on to the UID Project, the UID Number will become the common thread that links all those databases together. Over time, private enterprise could also adopt the UID Number as an identifier for the purposes of the delivery of their services or even for enrolment as a customer.”
It quite menacing to note that the Draft Paper on Privacy Bill asserts, “Once this happens, the separation of data that currently exists between multiple databases will vanish.” This poses a threat to the identity of citizens and the idea of residents of the state as private persons will be forever abandoned.
It is claimed that UIDAI wishes to establish a cost-effective, ubiquitous authentication infrastructure to easily verify these identities online and in real-time. The UIDAI has been set up unmindful of grave concerns expressed in the government’s own Draft Paper on Privacy Bill, and NIAI Bill appears to be meant to justify UIDAI’S acts of omission and commission.
Meanwhile, 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. This is an attempt to convert a resident into a number, Indian population into a market and then citizens in to subjects. It is an attempt to convert a resident into a number, Indian population into a market and then citizens into subjects.
With regard to these gnawing concerns, I seek an appointment to meet you at the earliest to share how among other things how UIDAI is entering into contracts with corporations having intimate links with intelligence agencies in other countries and the inter-linkages with other proposed Bills and initiatives which has not been disclosed.
Please suggest a possible date and time so that I can meet you with a noted jurist to share relevant documents and concerns for your perusal and consideration.
Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties
Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480
Members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs
Shri Tariq Anwar
Shri S.S. Ahluwalia
Dr. N. Janardhana Reddy
Dr. V. Maitreyan
Shri Prasanta Chatterjee
Shri Rishang Keishing
Shri D. Raja
Shri Naresh Chandra Agrawal
Shri Javed Akhtar
Shri Bhausaheb Rajaram Wakchaure
Shri Neeraj Shekhar
Shri Bishnu Pada Ray
Dr. Rattan Singh Ajnala
Shri Naveen Jindal
Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar
Shri Ramen Deka
Shri Mohammad Asrarul Haque
Shri Jitender Singh Malik
Shri Lalubhai Babubhai Patel
Shri Natubhai Gomanbhai Patel
Shri L. Rajagopal
Dr. Nilesh Narayan Rane
Muhammed Hamdulla A. B. Sayeed
Shri Ravneet Singh
Smt. Seema Upadhyay
Shri Anirudhan Sampath
Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh
Shri Dinesh Chandra Yadav
Shri Lal Krishna Advani
Shri Harsh Vardhan