Sunday, October 3, 2010

Is the UIDAI database vulnerable?


Assigning a unique number to every citizen (or resident) is definitely a good effort. The UID can be put many useful applications. The legal provisions of heavy fine and life imprisonment, if implemented properly, are enough to deter the miscreants. However it is the responsibility of the Head: UIDAI, Nandan Nilekani and the Government to clarify and put to rest all doubts regarding the safety and probable misuse of huge personal data collected by UIDAI.


Why is the UID criticized by some people?

The main criticism of the UID is based on privacy concerns. The project is criticized because, unlike Western countries, India is not known for stringent data protection laws and the opposing group fears data theft and selling of the vital information to a third party by corrupt officials. Apart from this, they argue, it's an individual's right to protect his or her privacy from any unlawful interference, even by the state. Article 21 of the Constitution, the Hindu Marriage Act, the Copyright Act, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and the Code of Criminal Procedure all place some form of restrictions on the release of personal information.

Is it mandatory or voluntary?

Considering privacy concerns, UIDAI has kept provision of voluntary registration at enrolment camps to obtain the number. Critics, however, argue that once the programme gets linked to welfare programmes, the PDS system and availing of various services, it will lose its true voluntary nature. Hence, it's also important to have stringent laws to prevent denial of service in such situations.
   

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