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Supreme Court’s judgment on privacy protects Aadhar: Arun Jaitley

The judgment by many has been interpreted as a setback to the Aadhar card, under which the government collects vital personal information of the citizens.

By: PTI | Washington | Updated: October 11, 2017 12:32 pm
Arun Jaitley, Aadhaar, Right to Privacy, Supreme Court Privacy verdict, Jaitley Aadhaar, Jaitley Columbia, India news, Indian Express Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during a conversations at School of International Public Affairs of Columbia University in New York on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)

The recent Supreme Court order on the right to privacy lays down the correct exemptions which protects Aadhar, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said. Jaitley, who is in the US to attend the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, was responding to a question at the prestigious Columbia University on how the government is planning to handle Aadhar after the recent Supreme Court decision on the right to privacy.

In its judgment in August, a nine-judge bench decreed that that right to privacy is part of the fundamental rights to life and liberty enshrined in the Constitution.

The judgment by many has been interpreted as a setback to the Aadhar card, under which the government collects vital personal information of the citizens.

“I do believe that the Supreme Court judgment on the privacy matter in accordance with the current timing is a correct judgment. It lays down the correct exceptions which protects Aadhar,” Jaitley told students.

“Article 21 reads that no person can be deprived of his right to life and liberty without procedures established by the law. That procedure has to be fair and just,” he said.

Jaitley said that some of the judges also went into what would be the exceptions to the law of privacy.

“The first exception they say is national security. The second exception they say is detection and prevention of crime. And the third exception judges say is distribution of socio-economic benefits,” he said.

He said the third exception had been carved out specifically to protect Aadhar.

“For instance, nobody can see that I spent Rs 1 crore in cash and you can’t ask me the source, because it violates my privacy…So I think, these exception have been well brought out in the judgment itself,” he said.

There is a chapter in the Aadhar law, which in detail deals with privacy, Jaitley said, adding the chapter deals in privacy the manner in which data is to be protected, the consequences of violation, the fact that that can be made public even with one own consent.

“So all those safeguard provisions have been brought into the law,” he asserted.

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  1. R
    Reader
    Oct 11, 2017 at 1:21 pm
    A centralized and inter-linked biometric database like Aadhaar will lead to profiling and self-censorship, endangering freedom. Personal data gathered under the Aadhaar program is prone to misuse and surveillance. Aadhaar project has created a vulnerability to identi-ty fraud, even identi-ty theft. Easy harvesting of biometrics traits and publicly-available Aadhaar numbers increase the risk of impersonation, especially online and banking fraud. Centralized databases can be hacked. Biometrics can be cloned, copied and reused. Thus, BIOMETRICS CAN BE FAKED. High-resolution cameras can capture your fingerprints and iris information from a distance. Every eye hospital will have iris images of its patients. So another person can clone your fingerprints and iris images without your knowledge, and the same can be used for authentication. If the Aadhaar scheme is NOT STOPPED by the Supreme Court, the biometric features of Indians will soon be cloned, misused, and even traded.
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    1. R
      Reader
      Oct 11, 2017 at 1:21 pm
      UK’s Biometric ID Database was dismantled. Why the United Kingdom's biometrics-linked National Identi-ty Card project to create a centralized register of sensitive information about residents similar to Aadhaar was scrapped in 2010?? The reasons were the massive threat posed to the privacy of people, the possibility of a surveillance state, the dangers of maintaining such a huge centralized repository of personal information, and the purposes it could be used for, and the dangers of such a centralized database being hacked. The other reasons were the unreliability of such a large-scale biometric verification processes, and the ethics of using biometric identification.
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      1. R
        Reader
        Oct 11, 2017 at 1:20 pm
        The US Social Security Number (SSN) card has NO BIOMETRIC DETAILS, no photograph, no physical description and no birth date. All it does is confirm that a particular number has been issued to a particular name. Instead, a driving license or state ID card is used as an identification for adults. The US government DOES NOT collect the biometric details of its own citizens for the purpose of issuing Social Security Number. The US collects the fingerprints of only those citizens who are involved in any criminal activity (it has nothing to do with SSN), and the citizens of other countries who come to the US.
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