India — Former Head Spook Denounces Kafkaesque AADHAAR Database

“I have come across any number of stupidities, fallacies, misconceptions, notions, whims and fancies regarding Aadhaar. Possibly the only Kafkaesque stipulation I have yet to encounter is the need to have an Aadhaar number in order to apply for an Aadhaar number.”

K.C. Verma — Former head of India’s external intelligence agency (Research and Analysis Wing)

“Rarely do former intel chiefs and I agree, but the head of India’s RAW writes #Aadhaar is being abused by banks, telcos, and transport not to police entitlements, but as a proxy for identity– an improper gate to service. Such demands must be criminalized.”

Edward Snowden — January 21 2018

K.C. Verma — Former head of India’s external intelligence agency (RAW)

Threatening in India appears to have become a standard business practice. Telecom operators threaten users with disconnection of service if they fail to link their Aadhaar card to their mobile numbers. Banks are also threatening account closures.  Without sharing your Aadhaar number you can no longer get a ‘sim card’, an insurance, a bank account, or a delivery of goods shopped online. And, even if you had an old bank account or insurance policies (whether private or from government companies ) you can not keep them without sharing your Aadhaar ID number. Welcome to the dystopian world of “1984” ! Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

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KC Verma just published a fantastic piece regarding the AADHAAR database. It reads in part:

The system sees me as a ‘cantankerous old guy’, or cog in short. Maybe a cog is what I am. How else can I explain that even as I disagree with anything and everything that the establishment mandates, everyone totally disregards what I have to say?

One of the reasons for my contrariness is my irritating habit of harking back to the basics. If there is a text, I must refer to it. If there is any legislation, I must go to the bare Act. And if there is nothing at all, I must go to guru Google. No wonder my friends find me a source of constant amusement and, at the same time, ridicule.

These days my friends find my outbursts against my weird encounters particularly amusing. They darkly suggest that there is nothing wrong with the world, and that it is I who am weird.

Somehow, I am not convinced. Take for instance my strange encounter with my banker. He insisted that I must link my account with my Aadhaar and wanted to see the card. I informed him that while the number is in fact written on a card, it is not a card like an identity card or a ration card. The fine point of the number being written on a card and yet not being a card escaped his banking instincts altogether.

“Sorry sir, but you must link your account with your Aadhaar card. We have our orders. They must be followed.”

“Didn’t some people in central Europe say the same thing about following orders in the early part of the last century?” I countered. “Look at the Aadhaar Act please. It speaks of targeted delivery of freebies so that no freeloaders can usurp what should be enjoyed by some other undeserving layabouts. This is my money and my account. I am not getting any subsidy or benefit and, frankly, very little service. So why should the Aadhaar number be linked?”

But the blighter wouldn’t budge. “No sir! I can’t allow your account to be operational if you don’t link your Aadhaar card with it.”

I soon had another weird encounter; with the ‘Avoidaphone’ fellow. He also wanted to see my Aadhaar card. I refused. He patiently explained to me, as if humouring some child, “You see, this is to prevent the misuse of the phone.”  (…)

I attempted to educate him that there was no compulsion about it. It is an entitlement! The Act entitles every resident to obtain an Aadhaar number through the prescribed process. I had just started explaining the differences between ‘entitlement’ and ‘obligation’ when the rude people behind me in the queue started shouting. At first I thought they were shouting at the OPD clerk, but it soon became clear that they wanted to lynch me for holding up proceedings.  The WIRE

About KC VERMA

K. C. Verma (born 1950) was the Director of Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), the external intelligence agency of India, his official designation was Secretary (R).

He did his schooling from Mayo College, Ajmer. He belongs to the 1971 Jharkhand IPS cadre. He started his career at the Intelligence Bureau, was appointed as head of the Narcotics Control Bureau in 2005, and was later elevated to the position of Secretary (Security) and also served as Internal Security Adviser to Home Minister.

He was laterally transferred to head R&AW after Ashok Chaturvedi retired from the post on January 31, 2009. One of the major challenges for K. C. Verma had been professionalise and streamline the agency, which has been in news in recent times for various scandals and controversies. Wikipedia

ABOUT AADHAAR

Aadhaar (English: Foundation) is a 12 digit unique-identity number issued to all Indian residents based on their biometric and demographic data. The data is collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a statutory authority established in January 2009 by the Government of India, under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, under the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016.

Aadhaar is the world’s largest biometric ID system, with over 1.19 billion enrolled members as of 30 Nov 2017. Wikipedia

‘Virtual ID Is To Address Concerns About Aadhaar Data Misuse’: UIDAI CEO

REFERENCES

Nineteen Eighty-Four and India’s Severe Case of ‘Aadhaaritis’ — The WIRE

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India — Former Head Spook Denounces Kafkaesque AADHAAR Database

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