Published: Wed, April 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Aadhaar data breach can influence outcome of elections, says SC

Aadhaar data breach can influence outcome of elections, says SC

"There is a big entity which is controlling the data now", observed Justice Chandrachud to which Diwedi assured the court that the data is protected and safe from leakage. Chief Justice Dipak Misra also said democracy would be in peril if data collected during Aadhaar authentication is misused during elections, Hindustan Times reported.

Dwivedi did not clarify whether the disincentives imposed on Airtel was linked to UIDAI's decision in December previous year to temporarily bar Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using eKYC process as well as the eKYC of Payments Bank clients.

On its website, the data consultancy group boasts about handling the election campaign of United States president Donald Trump. "The UIDAI simply does not have the learning algorithms like Facebook, Google to analyse details of users", said senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, who was appearing for UIDAI and the Gujarat government.

The court was hearing a batch of petitions, including by former Karnataka High Court Judge K.S. Puttuswamy, Magsaysay awardee Shanta Sinha, feminist researcher Kalyani Sen Menon, social activists Aruna Roy, Nikhil De, Nachiket Udupa and others challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme on the touchstone of the fundamental right to privacy. "But UIDAI has made a decision that no chaiwala, panwala, restaurant or open ended retail outlets will be allowed to become requesting entities for Aadhaar authentication", TOI quoted Dwivedi as saying. Refuting this argument, Diwedi said, "they want smart card because institutions like Google doesn't want Aadhaar to succeed".

All 9 BJP ministers resign from Mehbooba Mufti govt in J&K
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday asked all its nine ministers in the Jammu and Kashmir government to resign, PTI reported .

Having adverted to the apprehensions, Justice Chandrachud asked Dwivedi: "You must think of what are the nature of safeguards that can be introduced".

Justice Chandrachud told the counsel "merely because of limitations of knowledge we can't have a blinkered view of reality; because we are going to lay down a law which will affect the future generation".

Justice Chandrachud said the court was concerned with the "potential interface of data available with the outside world". He said human beings were not reduced to numbers just because they were assigned a number as in proximity cards, passports, etc. "This happens in all the services, for example bank accounts and even when you book air tickets", he said.

The bench, which posed several searching questions, asked the lawyer why the authorities were allowing private entities to use the Aadhaar platform for various purposes and referred to the legal provision to this effect. "Only after enacting a law specifying the objective can a state approach UIDAI for access to Aadhaar data for authentication purposes", he said. "A mandamus (judicial writ) can be issued against them because they are performing public duty", he said.

Like this: