Aadhaar card and the war on privacy
The security regarding 12 digit Aadhaar card number issued by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) surfaced among Indians in the past days.
In addition to basic personal information of the citizen such as name, address, date of birth etc, the Aadhaar document contains biometric data including fingerprints, iris scan, and the facial scans.
Earlier the government had made submitting or linking of Aadhaar number compulsory for bank accounts, filing IT returns, availing mid-day meals mobile numbers etc.
Making Aadhaar linking must for availing financial services and welfare schemes had fuelled a controversy with many organizations and parties opposing the scheme and Aadhaar Act.
The Supreme Court in March extended the March 31, 2018 deadline for linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile number indefinitely.
The SC extended the deadline for linking till the Constitution Bench of the apex court delivers its final verdict on many cases filed questioning the validity of the Aadhaar card.
Over the last two years, multiple reports of Aadhaar data leaking online through websites and mobile apps came into light. While a huge amount of personal data cumulated in one singular database, there are massive concerns over Aadhaar’s data security and privacy.
Recently an RTI query revealed that many government websites made the biometric Aadhaar details of citizens public on the internet. It has brought up questions of the citizen’s privacy. As privacy is a fundamental right it may affect the Aadhaar scheme also.
While the Supreme Court is scheduled to start hearings on a slew of petitions regarding the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar,let’s see how the government will reform the original target of ambitious Aadhaar scheme to remove fears over privacy and security of confidential personal details and provide welfare to the citizen who is in need of it.