Whenever I think of Nandan Nilekani’s Aadhaar (Unique ID), it unnerves me that a government agency, in collaboration with several private companies that won the bid for technology, have all-pervasive access to private identifiable data such as biometrics, addresses, and phone numbers. Being as visionary as Nandan is, he failed to get a privacy protection law enacted by the parliament to back the scheme. As a result, there is NO legal recourse to a private citizen for the possible misuse of the data, because hey, there is NO law whatsoever!
No mature democracy will ever allow such a brazen extra-legal activity to take place within its jurisdiction. Indian democracy, under the aegis of economists and lawyers and technocrats, proved it isn’t so mature. Nandan got down to work on the behalf of Indian citizen, without ever being authorized by her (via Indian parliament) to do the work for her. She never had a voice to say:
“My dear IITian, Infoscion Visionary, thanks but no thanks!”
It is not hard to imagine numerous ways it can be misused by vested interests. What’s most dangerous is when the vested interests turn out to be politicians to overturn democracy itself. Mr. Nilekani, if this report turns out right, you have let thinking Indians down, the very Indians who were inspired by your fairy tale background and read “Imagining India” at airport lounges of the world.
Please clarify to that thinking Indian today. Are you trying to “canvas the base” to win over South Bengalurians?
Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys and the Congress’ candidate from the Bangalore South constituency, seems to be leveraging his expertise as head of the Unique Identification Authority of India or Aadhaar project to prepare for the next general elections. To this end, he has been sending out personalised letters to the heads of every household within the constituency. What is unusual is that the cover containing the letter looks nearly the same as those that were used to send out the Aadhaar numbers and bears the name of the addressee and his/her father on it.
For those wanting to understand why dangers of Aadhaar are real and not mere hyperbole, please read Firstpost editor-in-chief R Jagannathan’s articles:
“Why is Aadhaar being shoved down our throats?”
“Neta Nilekani is fine, but I still wouldn’t buy his Aadhaar”