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How panel members view data protection

Debate continues over privacy during Aadhaar hearing

By: Express News Service | August 2, 2017 3:39:50 am
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Arghya Sengupta, Research Director, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy
Sengupta was the youngest lawyer to defend the Government in the Supreme Court in the case against linking Aadhaar to PAN in filing of income tax returns in May. Sengupta, who helped in drafting the Aadhaar legislation, is also named as the youngest member of the 10-member committee that will look into data protection and the laws around it.

In August 2015, Sengupta wrote about Aadhaar: “…when a blunt instrument such as a blanket right to privacy is used to petition the court in order to stop the government’s Aadhaar programme, which is the context in which this controversy arose, SC is well entitled to pause and require the instrument to be sharpened…”

In May 2017, he wrote: “The Aadhaar Act, 2016, contains an entire chapter dedicated to protection of information, becoming the first modern-day statute in India to explicitly do so. It obliges both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the range of agencies which collect Aadhaar data to keep data secure.”

Rama Vedashree, CEO of Data Security Council of India
On Aadhaar-based point of sale, The Times of India quoted her in April: “When Aadhaar-enabled payment systems proliferate, host of data is deployed at merchants of which some can be phone-based, some through PoS devices. When an entire ecosystem is so closely connected, security by design becomes default.”

Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Department of Telecom
On whether Information Technology Act, 2000, needed to be amended and the five issues that should be addressed, Mint quoted Sundararajan in December 2016 as saying: “First, what should be the security framework for any kind of digital payments? Two, the standards and liabilities of the service provider. Third, data privacy and confidentiality. Fourth, storage and access of data. And if someone fails to comply, what penalty should apply, especially where details of millions (are involved).”

Rajat Moona, Director, IIT Raipur
In 2015, Moona — then Director General of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing — stated that Aadhaar had made e-KYC and e-signatures possible. “We are working with the Election Commission to link the voter card to Aadhaar because it will help in cutting out duplication,” Mint had quoted him.

Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of Unique Identification Authority of India
Pandey wrote in The Indian Express in May 2017, “The critics tend to forget that Aadhaar empowers the people, not the state. India’s effort to provide unique identification to its people and digitise its citizen databases, public or private, is mistaken as an exercise towards invasion of privacy… Often, the current debate reminds us of Europe’s Luddite movement in the 19th century when mechanisation was opposed due to fears of job loss.”

Compiled by Krishn Kaushik

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