This is an invitation to a Press conference on Aadhaar

WHEN: Friday, 18th September 2015, 12.30 pm

WHERE: Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC), 5 Windsor Place, Ashoka Road, New Delhi

Speakers: Aruna Roy, Usha Ramanathan, Reetika Khera, Anjali Bhardwaj, and persons adversely affected by the UID project

Five times the Supreme Court has issued orders in relation to the UID(aadhaar) project, and each time the government and the UIDAI have chosen to brazen it out by ignoring the orders. The most recent was the order of August 11, 2015, when the court said that the UID number may not be used in anything other than in PDS and LPG distribution, even where it shall not be made compulsory; and that the information may not be used for no other purpose. The government and the UIDAI continues to flout this order with impunity. The aggressive enrollment and seeding in every data base is in violation of the orders of the court. In the meantime, people face multiple barriers because of their troubles with the Aadhaar.

Recently we witnessed the spectacle of the Attorney General arguing in the Supreme Court that the people of India do not have a fundamental right to privacy and that the case be referred to a Constitution Bench. There is little doubt that this was a tactic adopted so that the project can proceed unhindered by the case before the court.

There are, among many others, issues of personal liberty, privacy, national security, exclusion, data as property, the inversion of the relationship between the state and the citizen, the deliberate flouting of court orders, the conversion of voluntary enrolment into mandatory enrolment on threat of being left out, untested biometrics, no informed consent about the uses to which the data will be subjected, the insecurity of rampant outsourcing, and the absence of an exit option to get out of the UIDAI data base.

Most recently, the UIDAI has set up a Unique Biometrics Centre of Competence about which the UIDAI says: “Nature and diversity of India’s working population adds another challenge to achieving uniqueness through biometrics features. Like other technology fields such as telecommunication, we do not have experience like developed countries to leverage for designing UIDAI’s biometric systems. For example, the largest existing biometrics database in the world is one order smaller in magnitude than India’s needs. Therefore, it is necessary to create a UIDAI Biometrics Centre of Competence (UBCC) that focuses on the unique challenges of UIDAI.”

This is evidence of something that critics of the project have been saying all along: that the UID project is essentially an experiment on a whole population.

To discuss this and allied issues we invite you to join us on Friday the 18th of September at 12.30 pm at the Indian Women’s Press Corps, New Delhi