RIGHT TO PRIVACY in a highly connected world…
The recent judgement by the Indian Supreme Court about the use of Aadhar may seem to be a victory for the establishment and for the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India ) in particular. The Supreme Court which ruled not too long ago that Aadhar cannot be made compulsory because it does not handle biometric information securely seems to be taking a different view.
If the argument is that the scheme is still voluntary and the Goverment cannot force it to be used for social schemes is valid, what provisions are made and can be enforced by the Courts to make sure that biometric identity information is not misused.
Its all fine if we trust the current disposition at the center, but history tells us that nothing stays the same forever. The fickle Indian polity and the caste/creed equations in each election can elect an untrustworthy government just as easily as a well-meaning govt with a true interest in its people. Then it would be another round of petitions in the courts…
Would it not be better if there is a vigourous public discussion and an examination of the issues at hand? Are the courts the right place to decide about this?
Aadhar usage everywhere is curtailed due to the actions of 20 petitioners; but do these people have the strength to withstand the sustained assault from the government and other agencies who seem hell-bound to use Aadhar regardless of the directions from the Supreme Court.
Unfortunately, there are more questions than answers given the shoddy nature of project implementation of most government schemes.
Will a plebiscite (like the was conducted in Greece recently) for all Indians to vote on this issue help?
Fundamentally, its the right to privacy and the option to move about freely in the country quite anonymously is what makes India a free country. The invasion of the right to privacy is just the first step in making it a less likeable place to live in.