On 4 years of UIDAI 'Many question Aadhaar's constitutional validity': Asian Age

On 4 years of UIDAI 'Many question Aadhaar's constitutional validity' 

Rashme Sehgal, Asian Age, January 29, 2013, page 4

It is noteworthy that some 38 contracts awarded to companies and agencies whose names have been declared by UIDAI include:  HCL Infosystems Ltd, HP India Sales Pvt Ltd, Wipro Ltd, MAC Associates, National Informatics Centre Services Inc.,  Sagem Morpho Security Pvt. Ltd (Safran Group),  Totem International Ltd, Linkwell Telesystems Pvt. Ltd,  Sai Infosystem (India) Ltd, Geodesic Ltd, I D Solutions, NISG, STQC,  Aircel, Bharti Airtel Ltd, BSNL, RailTel Corporation of India Ltd, Reliance Communications, Tata Communications, Satyam Computer Services Ltd. (Mahindra Satyam in a consortium with Safran Group), L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company(Safran),  Accenture Services Pvt. Ltd, Percept H. Pvt. Ltd (Media),  Intelenet Global Services,  Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, Mindtree Ltd., Ernst & Young,  4G Identity Solution Pvt. Ltd, e-Smart Systems Pvt. Ltd and Base Systems Pvt. Ltd. These companies and agencies are helping implementation of biometric data based UID idea. Some of these companies like Wipro Ltd have been awarded at least 4 contracts ignoring manifest conflict of interest. 

Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) has been demanding that the text of the contract agreements must be made public in public interest.

It has come to light that head of UIDAI was given ID Limelight Award at the ID WORLD International Congress in Italy. Last year the 10th edition of the ID WORLD International Congress is planned in Milan, Italy during November 2-4. The key sponsors of Congress include Morpho (Safran group), a French multinational corporation specializing in ID credentials solutions incorporating biometrics application in passports, visas, ID documents, health and social benefits, elections, etc. Its subsidiary, Sagem Morpho Security Pvt. Ltd has been awarded contract for the purchase of Biometric Authentication Devices on February 2, 2011 by the UIDAI.

Earlier, on July 30, 2010, in a joint press release, it was announced that “the Mahindra Satyam and Morpho led consortium has been selected as one of the key partners to implement and deliver the Aadhaar program by UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India).” This means that at least two contracts have been awarded to the French conglomerate led consortium.  Is it a coincidence that Morpho (Safran group) sponsored the award to Chairman, UIDAI and the former got a contract from the latter?

Incidentally, Nilekani was given the award at the ID WORLD International Congress in 2010 held in Milan from November 16 to 18, 2010. One of the two Platinum Sponsors was Morpho (Safran group), a French high-technology company with three core businesses: Aerospace, Defense and Security.  Coincidentally, this Global Summit on Automatic Identification in 2009 had awarded Tariq Malik, Deputy Chairman of Islamabad based National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) too for implementing UID project in Pakistan.

Nilekani 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."  Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) contends that there is a conflict of interest and it appears to be an act done in lieu of the contract. 

It may been noted that UIDAI awarded contracts to three companies namely, Satyam Computer Services Ltd. (Mahindra Satyam), as part of a “Morpho led consortium”, L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company and Accenture Services Pvt. Ltd of USA for the “Implementation of Biometric Solution for UIDAI” on July 30, 2010.

It is alarming to note that Davinder Kumar, Deputy Director General, UIDAI will have residents/ citizens of India believe that the three transnational biometric technology companies working with foreign intelligence agencies namely:1) Mahindra Satyam Computer Services/Sagem Morpho, 2) L1 Identities Solutions and 3) Accenture Services who have been awarded contracts by UIDAI that “There are no means to verify whether the said companies are of US origin or not” in a reply to Right to Information (RTI) application dated 21st July, 2011. This is quite a stark act of omission and commission that is likely to put residents of India under surveillance using delivery of public services as fish bait forever. The RTI reply is attached. Didn’t Nilekani know the country of origin of the award and their sponsors who were awarded contract by UIDAI prior to taking the award?

UIDAI officials like Nilekani and Davinder Kumar the “means to verify” the country of the origin of three companies in questions.  The first company Morpho’s website is http://www.morpho.com/qui-sommes-nous/implantations-internationales/morpho-en-inde/?lang=en

It Press Release at http://www.morpho.com/evenements-et-actualites-348/presse/mahindra-satyam-and-morpho-selected-to-deliver-india-s-next-generation-unique-identification-number-program?lang=en reveal its partnership with Mahindra Satyam. Its parent company’s website is www.safran-group.com

The second company, L1 Identities Solutions is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S website and its press releases at http://ir.l1id.com/releases.cfm?header=news reveal that the company received $24.5 Million in Purchase Orders in the Initial Phase of India's Unique Identification Number Program for Certified Agile TP(TM) Fingerprint Slap Devices and Mobile-Eyes(TM) Iris Cameras. http://ir.l1id.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=509971). Robert V. LaPenta, Chairman, President and CEO of L-1 Identity Solutions said, “We are encouraged by the strong demand we have seen in the first phase of this program for our state-of-the-art fingerprint and iris products. Our devices are receiving high marks from our customers and we believe a large number of L-1 live scans and iris cameras will continue to be ordered throughout the enrollment phase." This was on September 22, 2010.

On July 19, 2011, L-1 Identity Solutions and Safran, Paris announced that in connection with the pending acquisition of L-1 by Safran, the parties have reached a final agreement on the terms of a definitive mitigation agreement with the United States government. L-1 and Safran were notified by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) on July 19, 2011 that the investigation of the merger transaction is complete and that there are no unresolved national security concerns with respect to the transaction. With CFIUS approval for the merger, and having satisfied all other conditions required prior to closing, the parties intend to complete the merger transaction within the next five business days. Robert V. LaPenta, Chairman, President and CEO of L-1 Identity Solutions said, "The combination of L-1 and Safran Morpho with our complementary technologies, markets and promising synergies will result in the leading worldwide-wide provider of identity solutions today and into the future."

As a consequence of Safran’s purchase of L-1 Identity Solutions, the de-duplication contracts of UIDAI’s CIDR and Home Ministry’s NPR which was given to two companies on July 30, 2010, both contracts are with one company now. 

It seems to be a surveillance movement based on global ID card. Commenting on the merger of the two biometric technology companies, Mark Lerner, the author of the book “Your Body is Your ID” says, “Safran is a French company, 30% owned by the French government”. Safran has a 40 year partnership with China in the aerospace and the security sectors too.


Gopal Krishna
Member, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL)
New Delhi
Mb:9818089660
E-mail: krishna1715@gmail.com 

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