After the Privacy judgment, there’s been a huge controversy regarding Aadhar
We know that Aadhar is an important document as it is a complete residence proof and identity proof. Details in Aadhar card are easy to modify, physical possession is also not required (usually) and theirs is no chance of getting it stolen or any misuse by any other person as Aadhar card is useless without biometrics verification or One-Time-Password. Now, the question arises is regarding the safety of data and Aadhar. Let’s analyse the pros and cons of Aadhar.
Importance / Pros of Aadhar
- Welfare of people:
The 12-digit individual identification number on Aadhar card can be used to get LPG subsidy amount directly in the bank account by linking Aadhar number to the 17-digit LPG consumer number. You can also get direct benefit transfer by linking bank account to the LPG number. Aadhaar linked digital life certificate is another initiative which was launched by Department of Electronics and IT. Criminal investigation: With a huge database of fingerprints, it would be easier to track criminals
- Fighting corruption
Pensioners from select states now have to register their Aadhaar card number with their respective department to receive monthly pension. This move was initiated as there have been fraudulent incidents as beneficiaries requesting pension were found to be fake.
- Speedy verification
With Aadhar, you can now get a new passport in just 10 days Just attach a copy of Aadhar card online. This will serve as a proof of identity and address. You will get an appointment in just three days. Thereafter, the Passport Office will process and dispatch your passport in just a week.
This might sound stupid but actually with mass paperless verification, it makes sense.
Now just take an example of Jio:
There are over 100 million Jio subscribers in India, everyone has to scan their Aadhar card’s QR code along with fingerprint scan for verification. Now for every verification, suppose that Aadhar card is not there, then everyone has to submit at least one photocopy of their ID proof (Driving license, passport. etc). This concludes that with Aadhar card over 100 million A4 sheets, for 100 million subscribers, have been saved!
As you see that there are numerous advantages of Aadhar but, all these advantages are struggling with one disadvantage which is the risk of leakage of data.
The government claims that the data stored is completely safe, and is available in hands of government only, but this claim has been disapproved recently with the information revealed through an RTI filed by Bengaluru-based Col Matthew Thomas, one of the petitioners in the right to privacy case The RTI reply showed that the nature of the contracts contradicted UIDAI’s statements that no private entity had access to unencrypted Aadhaar data. The contract with one of the biometric service providers (BSPs), L-1 Identity Solutions Operating Co Pvt Ltd, headquartered in the US, says that the company was given Aadhaar data access “as part of its job”. Morpho and Accenture Services Pvt Ltd are two other firms that were given identical contracts with two year (2010 to 2012) Aadhaar data access.
This concludes that the access was also there with private companies, no matter how strict their privacy policies are, there is always a chance of leakage.
The only solution to this problem in my view is, to create a full proof data protection firewall and ensure that whole data is in their hands only, in fact, the Supreme Court has repeatedly asked the government whether it plans to set up a “robust data protection mechanism.”
By – Shubham Sharma (JEMTEC, Noida)
Content Writer @ Legal Bites