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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 16-17, April 20, April 27, 2024

India’s First Metadata case: Deactivating and Omitting Citizenship? Part 5 | Gopal Krishna

Saturday 20 April 2024


I will give my blood but will not allow the roll out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise based on National Population Register (NPR) and Aadhaar Numbers
— Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, West Bengal reaction to the deactivation of Aadhaar Numbers at a Press Conference, February 19, 2024

As on 17.01.2018, approx 68.6 Lakh Aadhaars are in deactivated state. There is no system of maintaining year wise records of deactivations. Maintaining such a database is not required under the Aadhaar Act, 2016 and Aadhaar (Enrolment & Update) Regulations, 2016.
— Reply of Minister of Electronics and Information Technology to a question from
Dr. Shashi Tharoor, February 7, 2018

UIDAI informed, that they had deactivated about 40.91 Lakh Aadhaar for want of Biometric Update as on 01 November 2019.

— Comptroller Auditor General (CAG)’s Report on Functioning of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for the period from 2014-15 to 2018-19, April 6, 2022, p. 44

As a matter of fact, till 01 November 2019, 37,551 Aadhaar numbers were deactivated due to disputed Personally Identifiable Information (PII) documents.

— CAG’s Report, p.46

I am really shocked to see such an action of de-activation of Aadhaar Cards in the State against the interest of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and the poor section of the society. Is it just for the sake of depriving the eligible beneficiaries of the benefit or to create a panic situation among the people at large just before the ensuing Lok Sabha Elections?
— Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, West Bengal in her letter to the Prime Minister in reaction to the deactivation of Aadhaar Numbers on February 19, 2024

The term “omitting and deactivating” is mentioned in two provisions of the Aadhaar Act and on four occasions in the Supreme Court’s 1448 page long judgement dated September 26, 2018 in the matter of the constitutionality of Aadhaar Number database project and Aadhaar Act. The word “deactivated” has been mentioned on five occasions in this judgement which has been found constitutionally questionable in Court’s judgement dated November 13, 2019. Now the issue of the constitutionality is pending before a 7-judge Constitution Bench of the Court.

Identification of biometric information for unique identification (UID)/Aadhaar for Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) and National Population Register (NPR) is aimed at unlimited tracking of movements of present and future generations of citizens like the tracking of bacteria under a microscope. This exercise of creation of a centralized ‘online database’ of demographic and biometric information of Indians is unfolding under the supervision of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and Home Ministry. The core issue here is: will efforts to undermine the fundamental right of Indians to move and transact freely around the country and to live without constantly having to prove who they are going to succeed or fail the test of constitutional morality, constitutionalism, and the constitution.

The joint reading of the reply of Minister of Electronics and Information Technology regarding deactivation of 68.6 Lakh Aadhaar Numbers as of January 17, 2018, the CAG’s report regarding deactivation of “about 40.91 Lakh Aadhaar for want of Biometric Update as on 01 November 2019” and deactivation of 37,551 Aadhaar numbers due to disputed Personally Identifiable Information (PII) documents seem to be revealing partial truth.

Regulation 28 and 28A of Unique Identification Authority of India (Enrolment and Update) Regulations, 2016 read with Section 23 (1) (g) of Aadhaar Act, 2016 provides powers and functions of UIDAI including power for "omitting and deactivating of an Aadhaar number and information relating thereto". Section 54 (1) (l) of Aadhaar Act provides power of UIDAI to make regulations including "the manner of omitting and deactivating an Aadhaar number and information relating thereto under clause (g) of sub-section (2) of section 23" which also provides powers and functions of UIDAI regarding "omitting and deactivating of an Aadhaar number and information". 23A of Aadhaar Act which provides power of UIDAI to issue directions to any entity in the Aadhaar ecosystem, which is required to be complied with by the entity in the Aadhaar ecosystem to whom such direction is issued. These provisions pertains to cases requiring deactivation of Aadhaar Number.

Significantly, the power of UIDAI to decativate has been challenged before the Chief Justice T. S. Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya bench of the Calcutta High Court by Joint Forum against NRC. Union of India and other the respondents have to file affidavit in this regard, The High Court’s order dated March 21, 2024 states, “This issue will be considered after an affidavit is filed by an appropriate authority of the respondents. Such \affidavit shall be filed within a period of three weeks from date. Reply thereto, if any, be filed within a week thereafter. 3. List the matter on 25.04.2024 for further consideration.”

The petition of the Joint Forum against NRC assumes significance in the backdrop of the outrage expressed by Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal and a former union minister who has cited the deactivation of Aadhaar Numbers to implement National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise based on National Population Register (NPR) and Aadhaar Numbers. She wrote to the Prime Minister saying, “It is learnt that the Head Office of UIDAI in New Delhi, without any field enquiry or hearing the persons and taking the State Government into confidence, has been directly issuing letters to individuals and family members informing them about the deactivation of their Aadhaar Cards under provisions of the Regulation of 28A of Aadhaar (Enrolment and Update) Regulations, 2016. It is surprising that such a process of de-activation of Aadhaar Cards without any prior intimation and also without giving any opportunity of being heard to the card holders is in gross violation of the Regulation 29(1) of Aadhaar (Enrolment and Update) Regulations, 2016 and also in gross violation of natural justice….Every citizen in the State is in a state of fear on this matter I would like to know from you about the causes for such sudden action of de-activation of Aadhaar Cards without assigning reasons.”

On an earlier occasion, in a matter pertaining to the cancellation of Aadhaar Number of the petitioners as proposed by the Deputy Director of Ministry of Home Affairs, Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya of Calcutta the High Court approvingly recorded the argument of the petitioners in his order in Priya Das v. Union of India (2023). The petitioners submitted that the the respondent authorities failed to furnish any ground as contemplated under the said Regulation for suspending the Aadhaar Number of the petitioners. It was pointed out that he provisions of the 2009 Citizenship Rules, in particular, Rules 26, 27 and 28, stipulate a specific modality for the purpose of depriving a person of citizenship of India. The provisions of Schedules II and III are also to be adhered to for such purpose, which has not been done at all in the present case. In the absence of any challenge to the citizenship of the petitioners and/or any steps having been taken in that regard, the respondents, the Union of India and others acted palpably without jurisdiction in deactivating the Aadhaar Numbers without any plausible reason whatsoever.

The Court observed: “The provisions under which the citizenship of an Indian citizen can be interdicted are provided in the Citizenship Act, 1955. Relevant to the present context are Sections 9 and 10 of the said Act. Section 9 speaks about termination of Citizenship and Section 10 about deprivation of citizenship. Needless to say, under the Act of 1955 read with Rules 26, 27 and 28 of the Citizenship Rules, 2009 framed thereunder and Schedules II and III, sufficient procedure has been laid out, keeping in view the tenets of natural justice, for the purpose of depriving or terminating the citizenship of a person. However, at the present juncture, the high ground of termination of citizenship has not been invoked by the respondent authorities, since the petitioners are still in possession of valid passports. Since the petitioners have not yet been deprived of their citizenship by the respondents, we need not look into the provisions of the Citizenship Act and the consequential Rules at this juncture. However, the citation of the said statute becomes relevant insofar as the present action of deactivating the Aadhaar Cards of the petitioners might have the consequence, de facto, of terminating the Indian citizenship of the petitioners, since the deactivation of their Aadhaar Cards has severe consequences on the petitioners’ right to live a dignified life as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India and to pursue vocations under Article 19 of the Constitution of India. Considering the provisions of the Aadhaar Regulations of 2016 in such context, we find that Regulation 27 thereof provides for cases requiring omission of Aadhaar number. However, the authorities have resorted to Regulation 28(c) of the 2016 Regulations, as declared in the documents annexed to the pleadings. As per the said provision, the Aadhaar number shall be deactivated where it is found at a later stage that enrolment has been carried out without valid supporting documents. The Aadhaar number in such context shall be deactivated till it is updated by the Aadhaar number holder after furnishing valid supporting documents.”

The Court has noted that “even in the criminal proceeding, the police report itself indicates that the petitioner no. 1 and her family are in custody of several documents to prove their Indian Citizenship. The corresponding worth of the documents furnished by the petitioner no. 1 and her family on the one hand and the private respondent on the other, pitted against each other, has to be decided by a competent authority. Before such adjudication and/or a formal enquiry being undertaken, the respondent authorities cannot, in any manner, take away the basic rights of the petitioner no. 1 and her family as citizens of India, as in the present case…..Even Regulation 28(c) of the 2016 Regulations states that where it is found at a later stage that enrolment has been carried out without valid supporting documents, the Aadhaar number may be deactivated. In none of the communications made by the respondent authorities or the Ministry do I find any specific particular of the alleged fraud or suppression alleged to be perpetrated by the petitioners while furnishing the relevant documents for the issuance of the Aadhaar cards in their names.”

The Court observed: “Additional Solicitor General right argues that particulars of fraud are required to be pleaded. However, we cannot put the cart before the horse insofar as it is for the respondent authorities and the private respondent, who are alleging that the petitioners’ Indian citizenship documents were obtained by a fraud, to prove the same for the purpose of taking away the rights of the petitioners as Indian citizens. The inquiry contemplated under Regulation 29 of the 2016 Regulations, as rightly argued by learned counsel for the petitioners, has two limbs. The first limb of the same is the field enquiry report, which shall be the primary basis of the decision to deactivate the Aadhaar card, which may or may not be supplemented by hearing being given to the petitioners…..We do not find any iota of any such inquiry report being furnished to the petitioners by the authorities to indicate that the provisions of Regulation 29 were complied with duly for deactivation of the petitioners’ Aadhaar cards.

The High Court concluded that “a sufficiently strong prima facie case has been made out by the petitioners to challenge the memoranda, insofar as the appropriate preceding steps were apparently not carried out by the respondent-authorities before issuing such memoranda. Insofar as the deactivation of the Aadhaar card during pendency of the writ petition is concerned, the same also prima facie appears to be de hors the procedure as laid down in the 2016 Regulations pertaining to Aadhaar cards. Accordingly, the deactivation of the petitioners’ Aadhaar cards and all consequential action taken by the respondent- authorities shall remain stayed during pendency of the writ petition.” The interim order was passed on October 3, 2023.

Notably, Unique Identification Authority of India (Enrolment and Update) Regulations, 2016 was amended to insert Section 28 A which deals with deactivation of Aadhaar Number and was made effective from September 29, 2023 in the backdrop of the proceedings in the Calcutta High Court. It is apparent that it is a measure aimed at influencing the outcome of the case in the High Court. It emerges that the legitimacy of UID/Aadhaar/NPR/NRC/DNA database is yet to decided by the High Court, the Supreme Court and in the people’s court.

Recent historical backdrop of biometric identification

What is ironical is that while it is inevitable that no centralized electronic database of biometric information can be made leak proof in the aftermath of disclosures by Wikileaks and Edward Snowden, the bankers, biometric technology companies and their collaborators are marketing UID/Aadhaar/NPR/NRC/DNA database as an answer, prior to the framing of questions.

In 1998, National Biometric Test Center, San Jose State University set up by the Biometric Consortium, which is the U.S. government interest group on biometric authentication was asked to testify to the USA’s House Committee on Banking and Financial Services hearing on “Biometrics and the Future of Money”. This testimony of May 20, 1998 was reprinted under the title, “Biometric Identification and the Financial Services Industry. This centre emerged from a meeting of Biometric Consortium held in 1995 at the FBI training facility. This Test Centre has defined biometric authentication as “the automatic identification or identity verification of an individual based on physiological and behavioral characteristics”. Isn’t the earnest demand for “quoting” of “voluntary” UID/Aadhaar Number for Permanent Account Number (PAN) by bankers and their beneficial owners linked to the hearing of USA’s House Committee on Banking and Financial Services on “Biometrics and the Future of Money”?

Whatever is happening in India is an exercise in imitation of what was attempted in USA through the REAL ID Act of 2005 amid bitter opposition. The US Senate never discussed or voted on the REAL ID Act specifically and no Senate committee hearings were conducted on the Real ID Act prior to its passage exposing its undemocratic character and the bill’s proponents avoided a substantive debate on a far-reaching piece of legislation by attaching it to a "must-pass" bill. Notably, Barack Obama categorically had opposed it during the 2008 presidential election campaign. In 2008, all 50 states of USA either applied for extensions of the original May 11, 2008 compliance deadline or received unsolicited extensions. The Democratic Party led US government has been opposed to this law. Its implementation has been extended again till May 7, 2025. Some 25 states had approved either resolutions or passed binding legislation not to participate in the REAL ID program. Among other concerns they have argued that it infringes upon constitutional rights of states. The effective date of the REAL ID Act has been postponed several times. It faces resistance because it is consolidating personal information into a network of interlinking databases to create a national mega-database accessible to the government and bureaucrats throughout the 50 states and U.S. territories. It make the entire population a subject of government snooping and is an invitation to identity thieves. It makes biometric identification necessary for every transactions by government and the private sector.

In India, when one looks at the definition of the “Biometrics” which “means the technologies that measure and analyse human body characteristics, such as ‘fingerprints’, ‘eye retinas and irises’, ‘voice patterns’, “facial patterns’, ‘hand measurements’ and ‘DNA’ for authentication purposes” as per Information Technology (Reasonable security practices and procedures and sensitive personal data or information) Rules, 2011 under section 87 read with section 43A of Information Technology Act, 2000, it becomes clear that the plan of data collection does not end with collection of finger prints and iris scan it goes quite beyond it.

Notably, Section 2 (n) of Aadhaar Act defines “identity information”. In respect of an individual, it includes his Aadhaar number, his biometric information and his demographic information. Section 2 (g) of the Act defines “biometric information”. It means photograph, finger print, Iris scan, or such other biological attributes of an individual as may be specified by regulations. Section 2 (j) defines “core biometric information”. It means finger print, Iris scan, or such other biological attribute of an individual as may be specified by regulations. The reference to “other biological attributes” refers to DNA data and voice print as well. Secition 2 (h) of the Act defines “Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR)”. It means a centralised database in one or more locations containing all Aadhaar numbers issued to Aadhaar number holders along with the corresponding demographic information and biometric information of such individuals and other information related thereto. The reference to “and other information” implies that includes metadata as well.

The fact remains biometric data like finger print, voice print, iris scan and DNA do not reveal citizenship. While use of biometric technology, an advanced technique for the identification of humans, based on their characteristics or traits is unfolding there is agency within India to. These traits can be face, fingerprint, iris, voice, signature, palm, vein, and DNA. DNA recognition and vein recognition are the latest and most advanced types of biometric authentication. Biometric technology is being deployed in the application areas like government, travel and immigration, banking and finance, and defense. Government applications cover voting, personal ID, license, building access, etc.; whereas travel and immigration use biometric authentication for border access control, immigration, detection of explosives at the airports, etc. Banking and finance sector use biometric authentication for account access, ATM security, etc.

The International Biometric Industry Association has listed potential applications for including voter registration, access to healthcare records, banking transactions, national identification systems and parental control. Indeed “Biometrics are turning the human body into the universal ID card of the future”. Unmindful of dangerous ramifications of such applications, if citizens and political parties concerned about civil liberties do not act quickly enough biometric ID’s are all set to be made as common as email addresses without any legal and legitimate mandate. Biometric information includes DNA profiling wherein biological traits are taken from a person because by their very nature are unique to the individual and positively identifies that person within an ever larger population as the technology improves.

In the Parliament, on April 23, 2013, Abdul Rahman, MP asked the Union Minister of Home Affairs about the percentage of the population covered under UID (Aadhaar), National Population Register (NPR) and Voters Identity Card, so far and the areas where information provided in these UID (Aadhaar), NPR and Voters Identity Card overlap; and the steps taken to avoid overlapping of the information contained therein. The reply was given but what it did not disclose is that the overlapping is deliberate because the real motive of the entire exercise is to ensure convergence of all pre-existing databases and the databases under creation as envisaged by the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) like World Bank Group.

In his written reply, R.P.N.Singh, the then Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs informed the Parliament, “As per the Electoral Roll data 2012, the Election Commission of India has 75.84 crore registered general electors in India.’ He admitted that “the five demographic fields Name, Address, Gender, Age, Name of father/mother/guardian and the photograph are common.” What is not common is that it provides the route for convergence.

It does not appear to be a coincidence that Lyon, France based Ronald K Noble, Secretary General, INTERPOL, and world’s largest police organisation too has called for global electronic e-ID identity card system. When Nilekani was asked about the relationship of UID/Aadhaar with the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) in an interview by Hard News magazine, his reply was ‘No Comments’. Isn’t global electronic e-ID identity card system proposed by INTERPOL, e-Identity project of World Bank Group and UID/aadhaar related databases linked? Is ‘No Comments’ a convincing answer?

Biometric documentation of undocumented citizens in developing countries which is underway in some 14 developing countries under ETI is aimed at bringing them out of anonymity without any legal mandate. Such documentation of sensitive data of citizens facilitates bullying and invasiveness by the state and international financial institutions.

Identifying citizens biometrically is an exercise in empire building by ‘commercial czars’ and turning citizens in to serfs. Modern day Jaichands, Mir Zafars, Jeewan Lals and Mirza Ilahi Bakshis are collaborating to help empire builders to earn myopic rewards through attempts to compromise citizens’ sovereignty for good.

The journey of biometric identification and numbering of Indians commenced a year after the first war of India’s independence was brutally suppressed by the army of British East India Company with the help of collaborators like Jeevan Lal, Mirza Ilahi Baksh and Rajab Ali. The first systematic capture of hand images for identification purposes initiated by William Herschel, a civil servant in colonial India in 1858. It is noteworthy that in 1898, Edward Henry, Inspector General of the Bengal Police established the first British fingerprint files in London.

Referring to the British victory over Indians in 1857, William Howard Russell of London Times wrote: “Our siege of Delhi would have been impossible, if the Rajas of Patiala and Jhind (Jind) had not been our friends”. The seize of the database of personal sensitive biometric information of all the Indians would have been impossible but for the help of ‘commercial czars’ like Nandan Nilekani and the complicity of civil servants like the Census Commissioner and Registrar General of India responsible for biometric NPR.

Database Empire of the Wall Street

In its April 13, 2013 report titled ‘Regional Economic Outlook, Asia and Pacific Shifting Risks, New Foundations for Growth’ as part of World Economic and Financial Surveys, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) noted that “India is planning to enhance its existing cash transfer program and identification system in connection with the ongoing subsidy reform”.

Elaborating it further it reported how “India has also been rapidly expanding its biometric Uniform Identification system (aadhaar), which will establish an accurate and paperless means of identifying all Indians by 2014. This program will also present large opportunities for savings. A nationally uniform, biometric database would cut down on leakages from outdated biographical information, ghost identification, double registration, and other losses, which have been estimated in the range of 15–20 percent of total spending.”

Underlining the convergence underway, it said, “The integration of these two programs, aadhaar and direct cash transfers, promises further savings but will involve many challenges: the timeframe for bringing India’s population of 1.2 billion into the aadhar program could extend beyond 2014, and integrating this database with information on individuals eligible for subsidized fuel will take time. Shifting the fertilizer subsidy from companies to individual farmers and building up the capacity to deliver payments electronically could also be challenging in such a large country. But the total savings could be substantial: if the combination of direct cash transfer and aadhaar eliminates the estimated 15 percent leakage cited above for the programs being integrated, savings could total ½ percent of GDP in addition to the gains from the better targeting of spending on the poor.”

Such claims are figment of IMF’s imagination unless the total estimated budget of the UID/Aadhaar project is disclosed. It is irrational for anyone to reach inference about benefits from any project without factoring in the costs but World Bank Group is doing it and endorsing similar acts by UIDAI.

Not surprisingly, having applauded both biometric identification and cash transfer, the World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim underlined the importance of the subject to the World Bank Group in his opening remarks at the Bank’s Development Economics Lecture series on April 24, 2013 in Washington where Chairman, Planning Commission’s Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and Chairman, Infosys Technologies, Nandan Manohar Nilekani spoke about the unique system for the biometric identification of Indian residents. It may be recalled that Robert B. Zoellick, the then World Bank Chief had met Chairman of the UIDAI on December 4, 2009. What transpired at these meetings is not in public domain.

In the aftermath of these meetings what is least talked about is that the E-identity and UID/aadhaar related projects are part of World Bank’s eTransform Initiative formally launched on April 23, 2010 for converging private sector, citizen sector and public sector and Interpol’s e-identity database project. This along with the then Union Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee’s announcement in January 2011 voluntarily seeking full-fledged Financial Sector Assessment Programmee by IMF and the World Bank merits attention of the legislatures and concerned citizens.

In April, 2010 L-1 Identity Solutions Inc. (which has now been purchased by biometric technology company Safran group, a French corporation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between L-1 and the World Bank was signed as part of the launch of the initiative at a World Bank Spring Meeting event attended by many developing country Ministers of Finance and Communications. It claimed that this collaborative relationship with the World Bank is meant to improve the way governments in developing countries deliver services to citizens as part of the launch of the World Bank eTransform Initiative (ETI).

The World Bank’s ETI seeks to leverage Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to build a knowledge sharing network that helps governments of developing nations to leverage the best practices of practitioners like L-1 and others to improve the delivery of social and economic services. The knowledge sharing network will focus on areas such as electronic Identification (eID), e-Procurement, e-Health and e-Education; areas vital to promoting the participation of citizens in democratic processes, such as voting, and helping undocumented citizens get access to health and welfare programs. The World Bank is currently funding 14 projects related to e-government and e-ID around the world. Are citizens supposed to believe that the World Bank Group is working to ensure that India’s national interest and its citizens’ rights are protected?

"The speed and precision with which developing countries administer services is dependent upon many factors, not the least of which is the ability to verify the identities of those receiving services," said Mohsen Khalil, Director of the World Bank’s Global Information and Communication Technologies Department in a statement.

Robert V. LaPenta, Chairman, President and CEO of L-1 Identity Solutions had said, "We believe that identity management solutions and services can make a significant contribution to society and undocumented citizens in developing countries, bringing them out of anonymity and helping establish their place and participation in society and affirming their rights to benefits they are entitled to receive as citizens."
It has been underlined that the “game-changing UID applications in payments, savings, and other tools for driving efficiency and transparency” using “already created one of the world’s largest platforms (that is) transforming not only authentication but also everything from government payments to financial inclusion”. In effect, it is a case biometric profiling by the IFIs who have vested interest in surveillance of financial transactions.

In his book Imagining India, Nilekani refers to Bank’s economist, Hernando de Soto’s book The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else to argue that national ID system would be a big step for land markets to facilitate right to property and undoing of abolition of right to property in 1978 in order to bring down poverty! In the post capitalist and post socialist era, such assumptions of triumph have been found to be deeply flawed. In fact even the title of the books sounds weird in the post financial crisis era.

Occupy Wall Street Movement had a pithy slogan ‘Empire is on the Wall Street’. The exercise of biometric identification of citizens is a comprehensive intelligence initiative with financial surveillance at its core. The personal sensitive information like biometric data that is collected in myriad disguises and through numerous tempting claims about its benefits is going to be purchased by banks and other financial institutions to be correlated with other data, and used for purposes that was neither agreed nor foreseen. This data is bound to be stolen or illegitimately released, exposing citizens to risks of profiling, tracking and grievous embarrassments as has happened in the case of Greece, Egypt, Pakistan and UK.

So far legislators and citizens have failed to make bring World Bank Group and other international financial institutions under legislative oversight. A situation is emerging where if the pre-existing databases like electoral database, census and other databases which are under preparation is converged, these unaccountable and undemocratic financial institutions will never come under parliamentary scrutiny. The identification and surveillance technology providers are appear to be aiding an empire of a kind where every nano activity is under the vigilance of the Big Brother.

The flawed assumption of Government of India that the benefits of biometric systems are sufficient to warrant use of biometric technology for financial transactions is misplaced. The citizens who are succumbing to such presumption are doing so because they are not informed about potential risks. The blatant use of financial rewards akin to bribes to promote citizen’s participation in biometric identification programs sets a very harmful precedent as it violates the principle of free and informed consent. Informed citizens and democratic legislatures can respond to it only through non-cooperation, civil disobedience and voting against parties which support the banker-biometric technology vendor nexus.

(Author: Dr. Gopal Krishna, is a lawyer and a researcher of philosophy and law. His current work is focused on philosophy of digital totalitarianism. He has appeared before Supreme Court’s Committees, Parliamentary Committees of Europe, Germany and India and UN agencies on the subject of national and international legisaltions. He is the co-founder of East India Research Council (EIRC). He is convener of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) which has been campaigning for freedom from UID/Aadhaar/NPR and DNA profiling through Criminal Identification Procedure since 2010. He had appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance that questioned and trashed the biometric identification of Indians through UID/Aadhaar. He is also the editor of

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