Posted by: Techtalk | April 20, 2010

UID Project Is Ignoring Civil Liberty Issues

Unique identification project of India (UID Project of India) has been in limelight for both positive and negative reasons. On the positive side we have the benefits of using the UID system. On the negative side we have civil liberty issues and security issues. The experts are also divided on this issue. Some have rejoiced the utility of UID project whereas others are wary about the potential misuses of the same.

According to Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law and precursor of “Civil Liberties Issues of UID Project” “The UID project is a very ambitious and useful project of government of India. Its utility and potential cannot be doubted in any circumstances. However, the way it is implemented raises serious doubts about the “purpose” as well as the “legality” of the same.

It is admitted by the unique identification authority of India (UIDAI) itself that there is no legal framework that is currently supporting the UID project of India. Further, there are no “safeguards” for prevention of violation of civil liberties and security breaches. There are also serious issues of e-surveillance.

The UID database would be “central” for many covert as well as public purposes. The intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies, etc would have access to this database without any due process of law. There is almost no legal framework for law enforcement and intelligence agencies in India and absolutely none for UIDAI. In these circumstances, personal and crucial information is bound to be misused in all probabilities, warn Praveen Dalal.

There should be mechanism to keep a watch upon UID project in general and UIDAI in particular. The “UID Watch Initiative” by Perry4Law is a good initiative in this regard. It has been designed to cover all the possible uses and misuse of UID project of India. Even the relationship of UID project with national intelligence grid (NATGRID), Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) Project, National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), etc would be covered by this initiative. The initiative would also help in formulating proper legal framework for UID project of India if the government wishes to do so.

The benefits of UID project are too numerous to be ignored. The only requirement to make it a success is to proceed legally as well as reasonably. The forced implementation of UID project without proper legal framework and safeguards would only prove counter productive, opines Dalal.

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