Benjamin Franklin has rightly said that those who would give up Essential Liberty, to purchase a little Temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. This expression is applicable to all the Countries of the World that are dedicated to kill Privacy Rights under the false pretext of Security/National Security. India is no exception to this practice as Privacy Right in India is, perhaps, “Lowest and Most Negligible” in the World.
The starting point to protect the Privacy Rights in India is to understand that Privacy is your Right not a Charity. We expect our Government to protect our Privacy Rights rather than protecting same ourselves. We are very comfortable in surrendering our Privacy in exchange of slightest “Convenience” and our Governments take advantage of this attitude of ours. This has also made India a “Sitting Duck” in the fields of Cyberspace and Civil Liberties Protection Regime.
For those who care for their Privacy Rights, our Indian Government has introduced “Technological Methods” to invade our Privacy. For instance, India has been using, and is still using right now, the Unconstitutional E-Surveillance Projects like Central Monitoring System and NETRA. The Narendra Modi Government has still not “Cleared its Stand” on these Unconstitutional E-Surveillance Projects that must have been done long before. This means that the BJP led Government would also continue with CMS, NETRA, etc.
Further, there are little chances of getting Parliamentary Oversight of Intelligence Agencies of India. Similarly, there are almost no chances of Intelligence Agencies Reforms in India that can bring their functioning in lines with Constitutional Requirements. Illegal and Unconstitutional E-Surveillance and Phone Tapping is rampant in India with no Judicial and Parliamentary Oversight.
However, nothing can match the “Draconian and Unconstitutional Project” named Aadhaar as managed by UIDAI. In fact, the illegality of Aadhaar Project has been questioned before the Constitutional Courts of India. The Supreme Court of India has been critical about the Aadhaar Project and its implementation. The Supreme Court has held that “Aadhaar cannot be made Mandatory” for availing public services in India. Similarly, the Supreme Court has also prohibited UIDAI from Sharing Biometric Data with Indian Government Agencies without data owner’s consent.
These were sufficient hints that the Aadhaar Project, in its present form, must be scrapped by the Narendra Modi Government. Nevertheless, as per media reports, the Modi Government has decided to continue the Aadhaar Project. Some hints have been given by the Government that a “Legal Framework” would be formulated to grant “Legal Status” to Aadhaar/UIDAI but that is just “Part of the Solution”. Other considerations like Cyber Security, Data Security and Civil Liberties Implications of Aadhaar Project and Unconstitutional Biometric Collection by UIDAI in India have still to be resolved. It is high time for the Modi Government to sort out these issues before rolling out the Controversial and Unconstitutional Aadhaar Project in India.