Team  SoOLEGAL

Smart Card lobby and Google don't want Aadhaar to be successful

Team SoOLEGAL 18 Apr 2018 11:07am

Smart Card lobby and Google don't want Aadhaar to be successful

New Delhi: As the hearing continued in the Aadhaar case, the SC judges asked the UIDAI counsel about the safety of the data and if it leads to compromising of privacy of the citizens.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, hearing bunch of petitions challenging Aadhaar act, again drew the UIDAI counsel's attention to the Cambridge Analytica controversy and said these are not "imaginary   apprehensions" .The judges further said since there is no proper data protection law, what are the safeguards against misuse. We have seen how Data Analytics are being used for swaying elections.

This was contested by senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the Gujarat government, "Please do not bring Cambridge Analytica into this. The UIDAI simply does not have the learning algorithms like Facebook, Google to analyse details of users". He said Aadhaar does not have kind of algorithms which Facebook, Google and others have. UIDAI has "simple matching algorithms" which give answers like 'yes' or 'no' after it receives a request for Aadhaar authentication from a requesting entity.

To this the bench, further asked why the authorities were allowing private entities to use the Aadhaar platform for various purposes. Why are they being allowed to use this platform.  To this Dwivedi said, only select corporates would be given this right. There will be standards set which they will have to meet to get the right but in the future it might be required as Pvt sector is replacing PSU's in important sectors such as defence too and for carrying on work they might have to take up authentication.

 

Dwivedi countered the allegation that govt is bent on digital profiling of citizens. He said."Lobbies favouring smart cards do not want this scheme to succeed as they are opposed to Aadhaar," adding that smart card lobbies want  to ensure that this scheme, which is more secure and works offline, does not work.

 

The bench then referred to the provisions of the Aadhaar Act and said the misuse of information at the end of UIDAI may not happen, but there could be possibility of misuse or commercial abuse of information by private entities involved in Aadhaar authentication. To this, the lawyer said the Aadhaar Act provided enough data protection to citizens .Further for any breach, it has provisions for punishment and besides, the core biometric details cannot be shared by UIDAI. Dwivedi said, "Aadhaar is not just an exercise to provide benefits and weed out fakes but also to bring the service providers face to face with the beneficiaries. That is the revolutionary aspect of Aadhaar ".

The bench said Aadhaar authentication failure should not lead to citizen being deprived of genuine government benefits, there should be alternative arrangements in place. The arguments continue in the court.

Tagged: SC   Aadhaar Act   Biometric   Google  
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