5 Questions: People with Aadhaar should have the choice to opt out, says Tathagata Satpathy

"My concerns are that privacy is going to be a major issue in future... The Supreme Court judgment is an indication. We are damaging our own future through Aadhaar," says BJD MP Tathagata Satpathy.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | Published: February 8, 2018 1:43:16 am
Tathagata Satpathy, BJD MP, Aadhaar, Right to privacy, India news, Indian Express news Tathagata Satpathy

Tathagata Satpathy, BJD, Lok Sabha, tells The Indian Express about his concerns over Aadhaar

You spoke on Aadhaar Wednesday. What are your concerns?

My concerns are that privacy is going to be a major issue in future… The Supreme Court judgment is an indication. We are damaging our own future through Aadhaar. It is an unending process. Kids will be born, they will need Aadhaar. When people die, they will need Aadhaar. There are issues with that. Those who need benefits can choose Aadhaar. It should not be coercive.

Why is there an issue with Aadhaar when people die?

Aadhaar is being linked to mobile number. When one dies and the number is surrendered, the number goes to someone else. Unless my Aadhaar data is completely frozen or removed, anyone who gets my number, and somehow gets access to my Aadhaar number, can generate OTPs. Through that he could access other data related to me.

You said there should be a choice to opt out.

If somebody already has Aadhaar, that person should have the option to opt out. Opting out clause in Aadhaar should be built into the scheme. That freedom should be there. If tomorrow someone feels its not working for them, they should be able to opt out. I am saying this because Aadhaar data is now being accessed by private companies.

What are your concerns about private companies using it?

The PM has said that whoever has data in the future shall control. Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has repeated the words of one of the biggest industrialists of India that data is the new oil. So citizens must be made aware how their data is being used and then they can take an informed decision. Why should a company involve me in its business. I don’t know what a company is doing.

The government has been saying the data can’t be misused. And if it is, there is statutory punishment.

We give children various medicines against various diseases to ensure they do not get those diseases. So it is said prevention is better than cure. So why would you wait for some company to misuse my data and then punish? Why not give me my basic right to chose whether a company can use my data?

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