Friday, August 26, 2016

Mandating aadhaar?: Transnational cos like Accenture, Safran, Ernst & Young "infringing" on privacy of citizens

By Our Representative
An upcoming civil rights group has taken strong objection to the Government of India seeking to "coerce" the country's residents into accepting 12 digit biometric UID/aadhaar mumber as a fait accompli at a time when a petition of right to privacy under aadhaar is under consideration of the Supreme Court.
In a letter to the Chief Justice of India, Gopal Krishna of the Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) has said that the privacy issue is particularly serious because "foreign transnational corporations like Accenture, Safran Group and Ernst & Young have been given the task with regard to biometric data of Indian residents."
The letter alleges, "Transnational entities and governments captured by them have declared an open war against citizens’ sensitive personal information like biometric data that paves the way for the enslavement of present and future generation of Indians through aadhaar database that lies on cloud beyond Indian jurisdiction."
"Such initiatives", the letter says, "must be stopped and boycotted else it will spread its tentacles in every sphere of life and mobility in the country."
The letter recalls, the Biometrics Standards Committee had "categorically stated that UID/aadhaar is meant only for civilian application”, yet the order on "aadhaar-enabled biometric attendance system has been extended to defence employees."
The letter contends, "The UID was first adopted by USA’s Department of Defence, later by NATO", adding, "It has subsequently been pushed through World Bank’s e-transform Initiative in partnership with France, South Korea, Gemalto, IBM, L1, Microsoft, Intel and Pfizer."
The letter says, "L1 was a US a company when it got a contract from UIDAI but it got purchased by French Conglomerate Safran Group after security clearance by the US government. This constitutes breach of national security as no such clearance was granted by Government of India."
Pointing out that countries like China, Australia, UK and France have “rejected such biometric data based identification projects”, the letter says, “There is a compelling logic for the court to reject implicit or explicit support for tracking, profiling, databasing and mortgaging of citizens’ rights and their sovereignty under the dictates of their donors and non-state actors.”
“The biometric idea is aimed at making citizens transparent before the all mighty Governments so that Government, their servant can remain opaque to safeguard the interests of undemocratic and ungovernable social control technology companies.”, the letter says.
“Across the globe very stringent data privacy law has been framed wherein one’s personal data cannot be used by anyone including the government without your specific consent”, the letter says, adding, “But in India there is no data protection law.”
“Aadhaar is akin to a piece of collar which the transnational powers want to tie on the neck of Indian citizens. Government has allowed itself to be misled and it has failed to protect personal sensitive information which has already gone to foreign companies.”, the letter insists.
The letter says, “Government has admitted before a Parliamentary Standing Committee believes that the UID number involves certain issues, such as (a) security and confidentiality of information, imposition of obligation of disclosure of information so collected in certain cases, (b) impersonation by certain individuals at the time of enrollment for issue of unique identification numbers, (c) unauthorised access to the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR), and (d) manipulation of biometric information.”

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