Aadhaar: from compiling a govt database to creating a surveillance society

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Neighbourhood News Desk/ Avi Arya: Supreme Court on Wednesday started hearing the case against the UID project — a project that has emerged, layer by layer, over the years.

  • In 2008, the EGoM which approved the establishment of the UIDAI was seeking standardisation of government data bases.
  • In 2009, once Nandan Nilekani took over, the rules changed. The UIDAI was permitted to enrol up to 100 million people to begin with.
  • In 2011, a parliamentary standing committee rejected the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010.
  • In 2012, the seemingly benign project turned coercive.
  • In 2013, the ID system was definitively transformed into an ”identity platform” on which apps were to be built.
  • In 2014, as finance minister Arun Jaitley explains, the determination to tear down the project was dramatically reversed after those in government had a word with Nilekani.
  • In 2016, the onslaught of coercive enrolment and embedding the number in hundreds of databases spiralled out of control.

Simultaneously, penalties were introduced into this amalgam. Don’t seed your number in your income tax returns, and the system will refuse to accept the returns. And that makes you a defaulter — an offender — in the eyes of the law.

 

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