By Team FI
In a major boost to civil rights activists who have been campaigning against the Aaddhaar digital identity, Supreme Court of India on Monday passed an order asking Government of India to delink all programs from biometric Aadhaar and directed the central government to withdraw all notifications that make Aadhaar cards mandatory.
The Aadhaar is a 12- digit unique identification number for Indian citizens and is operated by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)
In a press statement welcoming the judgment, activists who have been campaigning against Aadhaar stated that in countries like India in the absence of any regulatory resistance, data mining mafia prowls through the information collected for Aadhaar. The marriage of internet with biometric data consequents in the death of privacy and democratic rights.
“In post-independent India, except for the Emergency period privacy was never under such unprecedented assault.”
Anti Aadhaar campaigners believe that biometric data itself has scientifically been proven to be ‘inherently fallible’ especially because of constant decay of biological material in the human body. Global experience demonstrates that the trust in the junk science of biometrics is misplaced. “The stolen biometric passport of a passenger in the missing Malaysian Airline has exposed its claims for good,” states the press release. Last year, when the Unique Identification Authority of India made its contract agreement with Ernst & Young available to the public under Right To Information (RTI) Act, it was learnt in UIDAI admission in its contract that “biometric systems are not 100 % accurate”.
The privacy issue was also not fully addressed in the Aadhaar programme. According to activists, the central government’s claim that “privacy issues can be take care of once supporting legislation is in place” is “putting the cart before the horse”.
Welcoming the order, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) has demanded that opposition parties should promise that the new government after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections will destroy the illegal and illegitimate database of biometric features as has been done in UK and other countries.