Aadhaar case is a fight between honest citizens of India and the Benami property and Black Money owners

In the case of Justice Loya’s death due to heart attack, many senior advocates like Mr Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaisingh as well as politicians like Mr Rahul Gandhi are complaining that an enquiry needs to be ordered under the supervision of the Supreme Court. Common Citizens perceive that there is a political conspiracy in this complaint so that they can then hold their gun at the head of Mr Amit Shah and say that he is a suspect and therefore should not be MP etc.

Similarly the Aadhaar case is another case before the Supreme Court where there appears to be a conspiracy to some how derail the intention of the Government to use Aadhaar identity to prevent Black Money Transactions and benami Property holdings. It is very clear to common citizens that the intense opposition to Aadhaar linking to financial information is because it will make it difficult for Black Money holders to keep Benami Bank accounts and Properties.

To sustain their argument, people are complaining that “Aadhaar infringes the fundamental right of Privacy”, “Aadhaar creates a Sureveillance State” etc.

There is no doubt that the Privacy Judgement under the Puttaswamy judgement was expected to help the Anti Aadhaar lobby and hence there was a fight within the Judiciary to fix the bench. Now that the CJI has not allowed it to happen, the politicians are trying to impeach the CJI himself.

All these developments confirm my doubt that there is a serious conspiracy behind this “Aadhaar is un-constitutional” petition led by the Black Money supporters and this is a fight between the honest citizen of India and the Benami property holders. The Privacy arguments are only a cover for ensuring that the Benami property and Black Money owners can enjoy their ill gotten wealth as they were used to in the pre-Modi days.

There was a strange argument presented today as indicated in an affidavit now in the public domain.

According to the afidavit,

1.the  project poses a constitutionally impermissible danger to citizens’ basic civil liberties including their privacy”.

2. “this project is highly imprudent, as it throws open the clear possibility of compromising basic privacy by facilitating real-time and non-real-time surveillance of UID holders by the UID authority and other actors that may gain access to the authentication records held with the said authority or authentication data traffic as the case may be.”

3. it is quite easy to know the location and type of transaction every time such authentication takes place using a scanner for fingerprints or iris and the records of these in the UID / “Aadhaar” database.

4.  it is not dissimilar to knowing the place from where a person made a call using his / her mobile phone. Just as the mobile phone connects to a tower from where the phone signals are sent to other towers and the servers of the mobile phone companies, biometric scanners also have SIMs and IP Addresses to locate the place from the transaction took place and its nature. Any administrator of the UIDAI server or any employee or other person with access
to transaction data, with a little help from the servers (Authentication User Agents and Authentication Server Agents, as they are called in UIDAI literature), through which authentication request is sent to the UIDAI, will be able to track the transaction and the person carrying out the same.

5. that UIDAI recommends that each point of service device i.e. the device from which an authentication request emanates, register itself with the UIDAI and acquire for itself a unique device id, which shall then be passed to the UIDAI along with the request for every authentication transaction. I state herein that the said method of uniquely identifying every device and being able to map every authentication transaction to be emanating from a unique registered device, further makes the task of tracking down the exact location and place from which an authentication request emanates easier.

6. a centralized database has the problem that once hacked all data can be lost. Specifically, consider if the Army personnel use this as an authentication mechanism before getting their salaries. The location from which they authenticate can be found as it will be done via a scanner which has an IP address / is on a mobile internet. From the tower to which the scanner connects via its SIM card, its location can be found. This data will be available in the
logs of the Aadhaar system. Any compromise of the Aadhaar system means that the hackers can know the exact location of each army personnel of the country at the time when they take their salary. This can be a big risk to national security, and this is just one example as to why it is, in my opinion, imprudent to use such a system.

I am sorry to say that the above arguments are contrived and cannot be considered as valid arguments to oppose Aadhaar.

My doubts arise from the following.

  1. “Privacy” is a loosely used fig leaf to cover the need for “Secrecy” by the anti-Aadhaar lobby. Just as we say “Your freedom to extend arms ends at the tip if the nose of the neighbor”, the “Right to Privacy” of one person ends with the “Right to Security” of the other person. Though the Supreme Court says that Right to Privacy is a “Fundamental Right”, it can only be a right with a lower priority to “Right to Security”.

If Security is not available to a nation, it cannot sustain democracy and protect the Right to Privacy where it is required. Aadhaar is only an identity that holds certain information of the citizens so that the State can know who its citizens are and whether they pose any threat to the security of the nation. (which includes prevention of looting of public money with duplicate employment records or ration card records). National security is therefore paramount and even the “Right of Privacy” has to voluntarily yield to the “Right to Security”.

It is therefore wrong to call Aadhaar as posing a “Constitutionally impermissible danger” to citizens”. As a citizen of India I abhor those who hide their identity and hold benami properties, black money, Bitcoins etc. The Supreme Court has to uphold my “Right to Know exercised through the Government” as much as the “Right to remain secret” which others want the Court to protect.

It would be a challenge for the Supreme Court to demonstrate if it is with the honest citizens of India or it sides with the dishonest citizens of India under some technicalities of protecting the Right to Privacy.

2. The charge that “Other actors” may gain access to the authentication records or data traffic to facilitate “Surveillance” is a speculation. In fact this is true of any activity of a Citizen. If some body is reading this article on the web, it is possible for the ISP to track the activity along with the location from which the person is accessing the web. What is special therefore to blame Aadhaar except to mislead the Court because the petitioner may think the Judge does not know technology so that any claim even if false can be pressed.

3.  If the records of the  finger print scanners can be accessed, it is possible to trace the location of the transaction is no rocket science.

4. As the petitioner himself agrees, this is not dissimilar to the Tower data of a mobile call which if properly analyzed, can trace a person within say 3-5 meters. This does not require Aadhaar at all.

Google earth can have a high resolution image which can identify a person moving around on the street from far above the sky. A person with a google glass can scan the credentials of a passer by instantly. An RFID scanner can scan your credit card even when it is inside your pocket.

While all these are acceptable to the Anti Aadhaar lobby, Aadhaar alone seems to be unacceptable because it is the Modi Government which can take the data if it wants.

This is a purely political opposition to the current Government and not based on any logical consideration. If one is concerned about privacy, we need to stop using mobile and live in a cocoon.

Why do such persons want any benefits of being a Citizen?. Let them not have a Bank account. Let them not have ration cards. Let them live as a hermit lives.

It is dishonest of these persons to ask for all the privileges of being a citizen of India including being protected from a terrorist attack or a Cyber crime attack but they themselves should be out of gaze of any law enforcement authority.

Supreme Court should recognize the inherent dishonesty of these anti-Aadhaar lobby and call the bluff.

5. The registration of the Access devices involved in Aadhaar authentication is a critical security requirement and I donot know how security specialists can oppose this feature. In fact, I am of the opinion that these devices should be made in India by an authority like BEL which manufactures EVMs and made as a tamper proof hardware that will self destruct if any attempt to tamper them is made.  Registration per-se is not some thing that can be objected to.

The petitioner repeatedly qualifies that the security can be compromised with “little help” from insiders. Yes every system can be compromised if an insider provides the “little help”.  What we need is to design the security systems with the knowledge of this possibility.

6. The reference to the army personnel being at risk because he draws his salary with aadhaar authentication is funny. Will the enemy target a specific soldier who is in the administrative office drawing salary?. If he has to be tracked, is it not better to intercept the radio messages or personal mobiles than looking for Aadhaar data?

Overall the petition and the affidavit to my mind appear a weak attempt to mislead the Supreme Court. If we follow the questions made by the judges during the proceedings, it appears that they are more aware than what the petitioners think about the ulterior motive of Aadhaar baiters and would not fall for their tricks.

The above argument does not mean that we are not advocating better security for Aadhaar. Yes better security is required. There has to be checks and balances for preventing misuse. But the security specialists are not helping the Government to fortify the security and at the same time UIDAI is not able to win over a large part of security professionals so that they provide positive suggestions.

There could be many reasons why security professionals are not on the side of UIDAI and we have highlighted it several times in this site. But now it is like war time.

All good intentioned citizens need to fight the anti-Aadhaar lobby which is trying to get Aadhaar being rendered impotent. We can forget the arrogance of UIDAI and defeat the nefarious designs of the Black Market community of India. We can then continue to argue with UIDAI about how the security can be improved.

Naavi

 

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About Vijayashankar Na

Naavi is a veteran Cyber Law specialist in India and is presently working from Bangalore as an Information Assurance Consultant. Pioneered concepts such as ITA 2008 compliance, Naavi is also the founder of Cyber Law College, a virtual Cyber Law Education institution. He now has been focusing on the projects such as Secure Digital India and Cyber Insurance
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