mfioretti: india*

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  1. 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.
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  2. Who decides what the city really needs and will operate going forward? With a smart city comes a significant amount of decision making on what to do, who will do it, why and when to do it. The answers to the questions are not easy and can have massive repercussions. Take, for instance, the challenge of gentrification and urban displacement, which has long been framed simply as a symptom of wealthier people moving in to communities and effectively nudging out lower-income individuals. However, public investment can play a critical role in this process too. Perhaps the most shining, unfortunate example of this is what San Francisco Federal Reserve researchers refer to as “transit-induced gentrification” in which public investment in transit—light rail, buses, subway—attracts affluent individuals. So much so that several studies have found that transit investments can alter the demographic composition of the surrounding neighborhood, resulting in pushing out lower-income individuals and creating new problems within the city. Potential outcomes like these should prompt questions about who should be making these decisions about public investments associated with smart cities. Finding pathways to figure out what the public wants from its city (and perhaps more importantly, what it does not) is critical. This requires citizen participation early in the process and throughout. The New Delhi-based Housing and Land Rights Network released a report, “India’s Smart Cities Mission: Smart for Whom? Cities for Whom?” The report highlights the massive problems with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to build 100 smart cities by 2020. Among the problems is the focus on technology of the future instead of issues of the present such as an agrarian crisis, insufficient civil rights for women, forced evictions to make room for the implementation of smart city projects, and so on.
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    Tags: by M. Fioretti (2017-11-14)
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  4. in modo esplicito di “nuovo inizio”. Anche se, ricorda Nicola Missaglia, ricercatore dell’Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (Ispi), le premesse per questo epocale riavvicinamento si sono create nel tempo: “Possiamo dire che già dopo l’insediamento dell’attuale primo ministro, Narendra Modi, avvenuto nel 2014, sia iniziato da parte dell’opinione pubblica indiana un atteggiamento più pragmatico sulla vicenda dei due marò. Un segnale della distensione è arrivato già all’inizio di marzo con la visita a Delhi del segretario generale del ministero degli Esteri, Elisabetta Belloni. Poi questa estate, nel corso del G20, un primo incontro tra Modi e Gentiloni preannunciava un nuovo inizio”.

    Se il caso dei fucilieri Salvatore Girone e Massimiliano Latorre era stato strumentalizzato in piena campagna elettorale (Sonia Gandhi, di origini italiane, nel 2014 era infatti presidente del partito Congress, avversario elettorale del BJP di Modi) per poi trovare una normalizzazione, resta invece sospeso il secondo punto di attrito tra Italia e India, la vicenda degli elicotteri della controllata di Finmeccanica:
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-11-06)
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  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.
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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.
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-03-27)
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  7. From the start, the government of this emerging state wanted to do something to immediately and significantly improve people’s lives. Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao decided that running water is an absolute necessity. Bringing that to the state’s thousands of rural villages required laying pipes. K.T. Rama Rao, who is the minister of Information Technology and the chief minister’s son, convinced the government to lay fiber optic broadband cables at the same time. “We were just envisioning and visualizing how it would be to have a state that is completely connected and wired,” he says. “What are the possibilities?”

    They named the project Telangana Fiber.
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  8. 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.
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  9. At times the Church offers classes “in very crude conditions,” Kozar said, recalling how happy children have been when they go to school, particularly the ones who sort garbage outside of Delhi.

    These children live “at a ‘mountain’ of garbage which is probably 4-5 hundred feet high in elevation and continues to grow as trucks deliver more garbage,” he said, noting that people there “actually live on compressed garbage – they sort through what arrives daily and some collect metal, some plastic, some cardboard and some, even human hair.”

    Msgr. Kozar also cautioned that although the Church is doing a lot, she must be discreet, because “there are some very hardline Hindu nationalists” who consider evangelization as being “anti-Hindu.”

    He said that he must also be cautious of his own presence when arriving to airports and public spaces since CNEWA is a pontifical foundation, and as its president he represents the Holy See.

    The tribal people “are humble and even protective of us and the priests and sisters,” he said, recalling how one of them told him that if the sisters living with them were ever threatened, “there will be one-hundred tribal men to guard them within a very short time.”

    “They greatly love the priests and sisters who live with them and serve them.”
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2016-12-13)
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  10. Il provvedimento, varato a sorpresa dal premier Modi lo scorso 8 novembre, prevede il ritiro di tutte le banconote da 500 e 1000 rupie, con la giustificazione della lotta a evasori, falsari e terrorismo. Le banconote - mandate fuori corso - potranno essere sostituite entro la fine del 2016. Ma rappresentano l'86% della moneta circolante in un paese dove il 40% dei conti correnti è inattivo da due anni e il 10% della popolazione detiene l'85% della ricchezza
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2016-12-08)
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