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Aadhaar no panacea

Government should not take Nandan Nilekani's warning lightly

Business Standard 

With reference to the editorial, “Mr Nilekani’s warning” (August 11), the present government should not take his words lightly and ignore repeated concerns linked to the database raised by himself, the founding chairman of the Unique Identity Development authority of India (UIDAI) and Infosys co-founder. 

His apprehensions about the data getting hacked in the absence of safeguards against the backdrop of the lack of and privacy protection are not unfounded. The UIDAI has lodged a complaint against an IIT Kharagpur engineer for illegally accessing the database using an app being developed at his start-up. More such incidents could take place.  

The government has been relying exclusively on data as the means of establishing the identity of Indian citizens. A nine-judge bench of the is considering the matter of the right to privacy of Indian citizens and is set to announce its verdict soon. The government, instead of waiting for this verdict, is extending the operational horizon of For example, the mandatory linking of PAN, driving licence, mobile phones, death certificates with Even for buying shares and investing in mutual funds, a citizen’s data should be in place. More such surprises could in store. 

The editorial makes a valid point when it says that “currently, there is nothing users know regarding what is happening to their data and this information needs to be given to the people”. Why is the government so adamant on and why is it refusing to hear the voices being raised across the country against this collection of data? Does it believe that if all details of a citizen are logged into the database nothing will ever go wrong? Has it even thought about weeding out a significantly large number of “duplicate and fake” cards, too, as it has done for more than a million “fake and duplicate” PAN cards? Is the finance minister listening?

              Vinayak G    Bengaluru

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First Published: Sun, August 13 2017. 22:33 IST