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Under the Aadhaar system, all Indian citizens are being allotted a unique twelve-digit identity number by the State upon obtaining biometric data including fingerprint and iris scans and upon submission and verification of certain demographic data including the name, date of birth and residential address.

The new identity is different from all previous identity documents issued by the State. While a driving license or a passport were identity ‘documents’ that once issued were in the possession and under the control of the citizen as “original documents”, the Aadhaar number and associated demographic and biometric data is a data entry in a digital database in the possession and under the control of the State and any other entities who might gain access to this database whether with legal authority or otherwise.

Further the nature of the information that the State uses to identify a person under the Aadhaar system is entirely different from that used under earlier systems of identification. Until now the State relied upon photo-identity cards to determine someone’s identity. Under the Aadhaar system, the markers for identity determination include fingerprints and iris scans. For the first time, biological data not visible to the human eye and inaccessible to and non-decipherable by a lay person or a non-expert, is being obtained from citizens and is being stored digitally in a central repository for all 1.3 billion Indians with the ostensible purpose of identifying them.

Yes, the citizen is issued an Aadhar card with a number on it, but that card and the photograph on it and the face of the person presenting that card are no longer sufficient for the State to accept that the person is who he or she says they are. The biometric data must match. If the biometric data match fails, then the State will refuse to accept the identity of that person.

Also, the Aadhaar based identity is ultimately a number in a digital database. That number can be deactivated or even deleted. The database is outside the possession and control of the citizen. If his Aadhaar number in the database ceases to exist, the citizen has no proof of his identity as a citizen. The citizen ceases to exist for the State.

The Aadhaar related debates have focused on the right to privacy and on the apprehension of surveillance by the State and on issues of the security of Aadhaar databases. But there are more deep-seated concerns about the Aadhaar biometric identification system that I discuss here and which are important to understand how great a threat the Aadhaar biometric identification system poses to the privacy, liberty and security of Indian citizens.

There are several scenarios in which this digital biometric identification database can fail, be modified, be stolen, be leaked, be misused or be manipulated by State or non-State interests to the detriment of citizens and their rights. I discuss how the centralized and digital nature of this database as well as its use of biometric markers of identity which by their very nature are not accessible to or verifiable by ordinary individuals, creates many such scenarios where citizens can lose control over their identity and their very person-hood and be left with no recourse in extremely harmful situations. The greatest threat posed by the Aadhaar system is that citizens will lose control over their identity, they will be unable to establish their identity under certain circumstances, and they will also be exposed to an exponentially higher risk of identity theft.

The digital Aadhaar biometric identification system it is argued not only violates the right to privacy, but it creates significant risks that threaten the very right to identity and person-hood of Indian citizens and thus the right to citizenship itself. The Aadhaar system fundamentally alters the social contract underlying the Constitution of India by enabling a potentially malevolent State to deny the very identity of “inconvenient” citizens. A cost-benefit analysis of the Aadhaar system, even accepting its stated advantages, cannot justify such immense risks to citizens.

This post was originally published here by Seema Sapra.

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With the government making the Aadhaar-PAN linkage mandatory, many people now find themselves in a position where the government has them by their money. Either forfeit the tax deducted at source or get an Aadhaar. Welcome, you prosperous people, to what those climbing trees to get their right to food have been going through for a while now. Give up your biometrics, or give up your hard earned money. Maybe you don't need to do either.

I was forced to get an Aadhaar when my father died because it got too much to handle all the places needing a change of name and wanting an Aadhaar. With disabled kid and mom, I didn't have the resources to get into protracted wars and I caved. I still regret it. But maybe some preventative measures could prevent you from sharing my fate.

Now I find various like minded people who have determinedly refused to get an Aadhaar made being forced to choose between their money and their security by a government hell bent on forcing security risks on citizens.

I don't know if this will work. But it is worth a shot. Even if it doesn't work fully, whichever parts of it work will bring some measure of privacy, if you are in a position to not be able to give up large sums of money due to you and find yourself forced to get an Aadhaar made. And frankly, why should any blackmailer make a monetary profit from their blackmail?

Step 0: Get an Aadhaar with as little non-disposable information as possible

Don't fill in any information that is not mandatory. Use a rented address rather than your permanent one. Or someone else's address - if homeless people can get Aadhaar, surely you can find a place, not yours to call home temporarily. Buy a separate SIM for Aadhaar use. Don't use your real number for it. I'd probably be doing all I could to make sure my fingerprints too appeared different, but I have no practical ideas on how to achieve it. Maybe use sandpaper. Or work on a construction site before going to make an Aadhaar? God knows enough poor labourers have been denied food because of such damage to fingerprints creating a mismatch.

Update: Some people said you can no longer get a SIM without Aadhaar. In this case, get the Aadhaar with your normal SIM and after you get Aadhaar, get a new SIM and update your Aadhaar to use that SIM.

Step 1: Get a bank account using the Aadhaar

Apparently, you don't get a tax refund unless your Aadhaar is linked to your PAN as well as a bank account (you end up providing bank account while filing anyway). So use a disposable bank account for that. Withdraw your refunds from ATMs. Don't transfer to your real accounts. Don't link your other accounts with Aadhaar.

Step 2: Use your Aadhaar wala phone with this bank account

Don't use this SIM for anything other than the bank and Aadhaar.

Step 3: Link this Aadhaar with your PAN

File taxes online as normal, give your Aadhaar number to the spy state and "prove" that your PAN is real. Get a refund into your bogus real account.

Step 4: Keep this toxic circus safe from your real life

Withdraw your refunds from ATMs. Don't transfer to your real accounts. Leave the phone with the SIM at home and don't take it around with you. Better still, someone else's home. Keep your physical Aadhaar card in a locker and forget about it. Do not photocopy, do not submit anywhere.

Last step

When Aadhaar inevitably fails, throw that SIM away, close the damn bank account and console all the scammed people.

 

To worshippers of Aadhaar who will outrage at this subversion - note, none of this is illegal

You can do what you wish with your own body, including work hard on a construction site and wreck your fingerprints. Buying SIM cards is legal, creating bank accounts is legal, renting homes is legal. The government wants to "authenticate" that people filing taxes are "real" people and are pretending entire bank statements don't prove it. Well, unless the government intends to use the information to spy on people, this stripped version of compliance that protects our data to at least some extent, shouldn't be a problem for them.

So go fuck yourself.

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Aadhaar makes pretty promises, but the reality of the implementation is very different and dangerous to citizen rights as well as personal freedoms.

Tighten the chokehold and kill dissent. When anonymity goes away, public debate is more silent. Too much democracy (sounds wierd, I know) and freedom is a bad thing for those in power.

What will be marketed:

  • Less tax evasion
  • Catch terrorists
  • Less leakage of subsidy
  • Easy transactions (finger lagaya, ho gaya!! OMG!!)

What really will happen:

  • constant monitoring
  • censorship
  • suppression of dissent. (It is trivial for me to map out who all attended a protest demo and where they live if you carried your mobile with you or are videographed. Realtime facial recognition works even with hoodies and balaclavas. Even easier for me to blackmail you. Doubly easy for me to plant your aadhar in places you haven't authorized. How will you know? You wont know why and who used it anyway, you get fucked for it.)
  • credit ratings by private firms using your data (the politico-industrial complex, the rich man's state, check out what China is doing with reputation score for citizens.)
  • targeted media articles and shaping of public opinion via media and places like FB (look up cambridge analytica and the trump campaign. Look at how easily Russia took over the USA.)
  • Mining of data based on your browsing patterns (JIO does this already. Data is the new oil. It is easy to model populations right down to the galli level based on this data: Above point/URL.)
  • fear based compliance
  • attacks like 1984 riots become easier
  • the state can make you disappear
  • random and warrantless data fishing expeditions by government agencies or by those with incidental access
  • stalking by government (this happens even in the US with so many controls in place. God only knows what will happen here)
  • With aadhar based basic data and punitive measures (exclusion from the state/deletion of identity) in place, forced compliance with things like genetic testing to determine vague things like "indian-ness" becomes a possibility (Check out the kuwaiti example)

What wont happen:

  • Fine grained control on our own data including the ability to deny and/or revoke permissions to third parties
  • Liability of the UIDAI for breaches
  • Aadhar enabled transparency in elections
  • Aadhar enabled Transparency in bureaucracy and decision making by politicians
  • Aadhar enabled transparency of political party funding
  • Accountability for power grabs or unilateral decision making schemes based off of aadhar. We have essentially written off our rights to the UIDAI on how our data will be used in the future.

Why is this happening? Our population is now at a very dangerous stage with lots of young people and no jobs or other avenues. It helps to have control or situations and revolt can happen way too easily. Our ruling classes dont have a clue of how to solve basic issues apart from lining their own pockets, protecting their kids & investments and divide&rule. Emotive issues are used as a cover every week on TV to subvert actual debate while serious legislations are being made. Our population is largely uneducated and easily swayed by glitz and silly TV shows (the reason why TV now is crap and has large numbers of religious shows and kulcha based shows). Educated urban youth dont connect well with actual desi TV programming anymore.

  • Does Aadhar require this level of biometric info? No.
  • Should we let go of the control we have of our identities? No.
  • Should third parties have access? No.

Essentially, your access to freedom will now need to be mediated by Aadhar and what it says. Anyone with power can fuck your happiness and freedom.

Republished with permission by budbuk on Reddit