mfioretti: india*

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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. facebook, free basics, india
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2016-11-19)
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  9. 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.
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  10. My maternal grandfather went to jail with Gandhi in 1933, so I grew up knowing this myth was cobbled together from half-truths. My grandfather took the lessons he'd learned in jail to begin an ashram in the bowels of West Bengal. As a consequence, my parents raised me with an intimate understanding of Gandhi that teetered between laudatory and critical. My family adored him, though we never really bought into the idea that he single-handedly orchestrated India's independence movement. This is to say nothing of Gandhi's bigotry, which we didn't touch in our household. In the decades since his assassination in 1948, the image of Gandhi has been constructed so carefully, scrubbed clean of its grimy details, that it's easy to forget that he predicated his rhetoric on anti-blackness, a vehement allergy to female sexuality, and a general unwillingness to help liberate the Dalit, or "untouchable," caste.

    Gandhi lived in South Africa for over two decades, from 1893 to 1914, working as a lawyer and fighting for the rights of Indians—and only Indians. To him, as he expressed quite plainly, black South Africans were barely human. He referred to them using the derogatory South African slur kaffir. He lamented that Indians were considered "little better, if at all, than savages or the Natives of Africa." In 1903, he declared that the "white race in South Africa should be the predominating race."
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2016-05-11)
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