Pages: 1 2
This colossal, IT-driven effort is moving forward without adequate transparency or public dialogue, and it’s no wonder that activists have pushed back against the idea in India. Internet policy researcher Sunil Abraham, of the Bangalore-based Center for Internet and Society, has voiced concerns over Aadhaar’s identification system and proposed alternatives that would be far less privacy-invasive.
“Privacy protections should be inversely proportional to power,” Abraham wrote in a Business Standard op-ed. “The transparency demanded of politicians, bureaucrats and large corporations cannot be made mandatory for ordinary citizens. Surveillance must be directed at big-ticket corruption, at the top of the pyramid and not retail fraud at the bottom. Even for retail fraud, the power asymmetry will result in corruption innovating to circumvent technical safeguards. Government officials should be required by law to digitally sign the movement of resources each step of the way till it reaches a citizen. Open data initiatives should make such records available for public scrutiny. With support from civil society and the media, citizens will themselves address retail fraud. To solve corruption, the state should become more transparent to the citizen and not vice versa.”
A biometric data collection program of this scale, particularly in the absence of an existing data protection law, presents serious risks to individuals’ privacy. Rather than improving people’s lives, Aadhaar could place their highly sensitive personal information at risk.
Pages: 1 2