mfioretti: aadhaar*

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  1. A centralised database, dual use as identifier and authenticator, and lack of sound legal framework are its main weaknesses.
    https://scroll.in/article/833230/expl...-of-its-design-and-the-way-it-is-used
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-09)
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  2. The UIDAI goes on about how biometrics are safe and out of reach. The truth is, biometrics are collapsing all round. The figures for biometric failure have been staggering. In Rajasthan, in the PDS, exclusion because of fingerprint failure has been close to 36 per cent — which means not even one person from 36 per cent households are able to authenticate using their fingerprints. Jharkhand has witnessed deaths because the poorest have had difficulty linking their UID number with their ration card. Documents in the UIDAI archive from between 2009 and 2012 show that biometrics was still in an experimental phase. That biometrics are not working as hoped is made evident in the Watal Committee report on digital transactions, in December 2016. At pp. 123-124, the committee says that biometric authentication requires the availability of internet and high-quality machines capable of capturing biometric details, making it contingent on these working. So, the committee asks that for digital transactions, the “OTP sent on registered mobile number of Aadhaar holder” be allowed, thereby downgrading biometrics.

    Digital payments are in the business interest; not PDS. So, while fingerprints cause huge problems to the poor, the business interest shifts to other means because biometrics are not dependable.

    The mantra has, in fact, been JAM — Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, mobile — three numbers that make up identity. It was in 2010 that Nandan Nilekani said to a reporter: “The slogan of “bijli, sadak, paani” is passé; ‘virtual things’ like UID number, bank account and mobile phone are the in-thing.” That is the imagination that is driving the project today. It is these three numbers that are being exposed in the breaches. Then, to say that all is well is clearly not quite the truth.

    The project is putting people, and the nation, at risk. Those in court challenging the project have been demanding that the project be scrapped — not just the UIDAI, but the project. The breaches explain why what they are asking makes sense.
    http://indianexpress.com/article/opin...-aadhaar-leak-aadhaar-details-5013305
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-07)
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  3. should Central and State governments, banks and insurance companies, mobile phone operators, educational institutions, airlines and hospitals be vested with the draconian power to take coercive action against any person who does not have Aadhaar verification and to deprive him or her of basic services and benefits?

    This is the far-reaching, game-changing, mind-wrenching judgment that Justices Dipak Misra, Sikri, Khanwilkar, Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan will have to deliver. It is an onerous task; and an awesome responsibility. It will alter the equation between citizenship and society, governance and commerce for generations to come.

    And, moreover, it is irreversible. Once Aadhaar is made mandatory, it will be meaningless to declare it to be voluntary or optional through some future judicial review.
    https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/o...-aadhaar-intrusion-would-be-illogical
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-12-17)
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  4. Unlike the Passport Officer, the RTO, the Electoral Officer, the CEO of UIDAI does not take any legal liability to certify the number as a proof of anyone’s identity, address or existence. Furthermore no one has verified or audited the database to establish how many of the billion numbers that are linked to data submitted by the outsourced parties are real individuals.

    The resulting Aadhaar database is the database being used to “purify”, as described by Ajay Bhushan Pandey the CEO of UIDAI, all databases that are seeded with Aadhaar. The seeding of other databases with the Aadhaar number is also unlike any other identification document. This seeding threatens to exclude the genuine and include the fake into other existing databases by seeding Aadhaar to other databases. The case of over 13,000 fake employees in Satyam’s who got salaries every month for years before being exposed is still fresh in India.

    As the government embarks to link the entire Consolidated Fund of India’s receipts and expenditure to this database, is it not reasonable to establish some CAG certificate on the existence of every person in this database?

    Mr. Nilekani has often highlighted the use of biometric to authenticate who you are as the core strength of the Aadhaar database. What he fails to state is that even if biometric could uniquely establish your identity uniquely throughout your life, which it cannot, its use for authentication is absurd.

    Once stolen, your biometric can be used, in a multiple of ways differing in simplicity and ease, by the thief, to perpetuate crimes that will be attributed to you and may be difficult, if not impossible, for you to deny.

    It is precisely this difference between the enrolment and use models of the Aadhaar in comparison with any other ID are a threat to you as well as the nation.
    https://tech.economictimes.indiatimes...ts/how-does-aadhaar-threaten-you/2277
    Voting 0
  5. the technology is colliding with the rickety reality of India, where many people live off the grid or have fingerprints compromised by manual labor or age.

    Panna Singh, a 55-year-old day laborer in the northwestern state of Rajasthan who breaks stones used to build walls, says the machine recognized his scuffed-up fingerprints only a couple of times.

    “I’ve come twice today,” he said at a ration shop in the village of Devdungri. “That’s a full day of work, gone.”

    Iris scans are meant to resolve situations where fingerprints don’t work, but shops don’t yet have iris scanners.
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/snags-mu...ut-1484237128?mod=rss_asia_whats_news
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  6. In this article, we ask if the legal foundations on which the Aadhaar operates match up to the requirements of a program that is likely to touch the lives of all citizens of India. Can we, as citizens of India, be satisfied that there are enough checks and balances in the functioning of Aadhaar?

    This is important as we have already started seeing implementation problems in the form of failure of bio-metric authentication, server and connectivity problems, cryptic error messages, and the irrevocability of the bio-metric, all of which have left the Aadhaar number holder and intended recipient of a subsidy without any remedy. As well, in the absence of an over-arching privacy law, our regulatory surveillance architecture is heavily weighted in favour of the State leading to the very real possibility of strengthening mass surveillance with little regard for the effect on individuals' rights to privacy.
    https://swarajyamag.com/ideas/is-the-...ource=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-03-27)
    Voting 0
  7. In Ghagaon, where a women’s cooperative runs the fair price shop, the internet has not worked even once. “We have to stand on the wall, or go near the pond, and ask everyone to come there to look for signal on the point of sale device,” said Mongra Sidar, a Gond Adivasi. “Or, we try inside the ration shop, then one person has to climb the chabootra elevated platform » , while another person stands on the ground to note down the details in the notebook.”

    In Raipur, officials said one lakh out of three lakh transactions using fingerprint authentication did not go through – a failure rate as high as 30%. They attributed the failures primarily to network connectivity problems and skin abrasions on fingers.
    Photographs as backup

    With fingerprint authentication failing for even genuine card holders who have been verified by local authorities, Chhattisgarh has come with an innovation: ration shop owners have been asked to take photographs of such people before giving them food rations.

    This photograph is stored in the government’s server. “It will serve as deterrent to ration dealers that even if there is a complaint six months later, the government can check if grains were given to the right beneficiaries,”

    “Earlier, we sent one boy on the bicycle to lift the rations for three households,” lamented Tapaswani Yadav, a middle-aged woman. “Now, it is a waste of time for everyone. Many elderly persons cannot walk, it is difficult for a few to even sit astride a motorcycle.”

    She added: “The machine is so slow, sometimes people reach the ration shop in the morning and return when the day is over.”

    Five technologies need to work together for biometric authentication to be successful – the point of sale device, internet connectivity, biometrics, the National Informatics Centre server, and the Unique Identity Authority of India servers. Invariably, one of the five fails.

    Shyamlal Dansena, the ration dealer in Dilari panchayat in Raigarh, said fingerprint authentication failed for 20% of the ration card holders on an average. But in October, he had to give grains to all 386 ration card holders after taking their photographs since the Samsung tablet purchased by the panchayat for enabling the Aadhaar-based transactions had stopped functioning.

    Dansena was preparing to travel 20 kilometers to Raigarh to get the tablet repaired. “The food officer said we can give November month’s grains only after the software is loaded again,” he said.
    http://scroll.in/article/822764/chhat...ar-when-fingerprints-fail-take-photos
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  8. DigiLocker is a key initiative under Digital India, Government of India’s flagship program aimed at transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

    It is targeted at paperless governance. It is a platform to issue and verify certificates/documents digitally and thus eliminate the use of physical documents. Indian citizens who sign up for DigiLocker get free dedicated cloud storage space.

    Organizations that are registered with DigiLocker can push digital copies of documents/certificates (e.g. driving license, educational certificates) directly into citizens’ lockers. Citizens can also upload scanned copies of their legacy documents into their accounts. Citizens can share these documents with other departments while availing their services.

    How is DigiLocker connected to ownCloud? Is it built on ownCloud?

    Digital Locker ecosystem has three main components:

    Citizen Lockers: A dedicated storage space for registered users to upload and store their documents.
    Documents Repositories: These are document repositories of various issuers across India. DigiLocker connects to these repositories using a gateway. The documents from these repositories are made available in citizens’ lockers in the form of a link. These documents are referred as Issued Documents.
    Gateway: The gateway connects to all issuer repositories using a standard set of APIs and provides a uniform access mechanism for other organizations and departments who want to access the documents stored in these repositories.

    ownCloud is used to provide the Citizen Locker feature.

    Why did you decide to go with ownCloud as a platform? Were you looking for a free and open source tool or was ownCloud just the best tool for the job?

    For DigiLocker, we were looking for an enterprise scale open platform that is capable of leveraging upon other scalable technologies. This was critical for DigiLocker as we aimed at building a highly scalable product with minimal cost. We found that the ownCloud readily provides a lot of features that we were looking for. It provides a variety of option from traditional file system to distributed file system for file storage. It provides a rich set of APIs for a variety of clients. More importantly, it was available in PHP which was a language of our choice. ownCloud being an open source platform was also an important reason to selecting it. DigiLocker is built completely on open source and open stack technology. We want to showcase that a national system like this can be built using open source technologies.
    http://www.mylinuxrig.com/post/151341...6/indian-government-embraces-owncloud
    Voting 0
  9. Aadhaar reflects and reproduces power imbalances and inequalities. Information asymmetries result in the data subject becoming a data object, to be manipulated, misrepresented and policed at will.

    Snowden: “Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”

    Snowden’s demolition of the argument doesn’t mean our work here is done. There are many other tropes that my (now renamed) Society for the Rejection of Culturally Relativist Excuses could tackle. Those that insist Indians are not private. That privacy is a western liberal construct that has no place whatsoever in Indian culture. That acknowledging privacy interests will stall development. This makes it particularly hard to advance claims of privacy, autonomy and liberty in the context of large e-governance and identity projects like Aadhaar: they earn one the labels of elitist, anti-progress, Luddite, paranoid and, my personal favourite, privacy fascist.
    http://scroll.in/article/748043/aadha...n-its-the-only-way-to-secure-equality
    Voting 0
  10. One of the key reasons to kick off the Aadhaar-based identification system was to biometrically identify illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries. The irony is, now the Bangladesh government - a significant chunk of illegal immigrants in India are from Bangladesh - wants to study the model and replicate the system in the country. A team from Bangladesh is expected to visit India soon to meet officials from the National Population Register and the Unique Identification Authority of India, the nodal agency that issues Aadhaar cards. Another irony is that the two agencies have been at loggerheads over, among other things, the collection of biometric data and proof of identity.
    http://www.business-standard.com/arti...dhaar-the-paradox-115040201046_1.html
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2015-04-07)
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