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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Fwd: Aadhaar: UIDAI and the ‘fifth column’ of Napoleon—Part XIX

Aadhaar: UIDAI and the 'fifth column' of Napoleon—Part XIX

Most of those who are in public life are in the 'fifth column' because
of either their naivety or their seemingly apolitical tunnel vision
for UIDAI's Aadhaar project, which makes them act treacherously in a
historical vacuum

It is said that once on a military campaign Napoleon Bonaparte, a
military and political leader of France, stood outside his tent in the
battlefield facing the most fortified castle of an European city and
said, "Once this city is taken, nothing will stop my campaign, and
I'll soon be Emperor of France" with my five army columns. Everybody
knew about his four columns of army but not the fifth. When asked
about his 5th column, Napoleon replied, "My fifth column is within the
city itself!" Soon the gate keepers of the castle were clubbed to
death, the huge gates swung open, and Napoleon's soldiers marched
through. The "fifth columnists" told him about the barracks full of
soldiers kept to defend the city. Napoleon woke them and asked them to
join him or die. The city fell in no time and Napoleon did indeed go
on to become Emperor of France with the help of the fifth columnists.

There is an unacknowledged relationship between the biometric Unique
Identification (UID)/Aadhaar project and the US-based National Defense
Industrial Association (NDIA). The latter was set up in 1919 to scale
up the war effort during World War-I. Since then, it has been
"promoting national security" of the US and 'institutionalising'
Biometrics Enabled Identification based on Automatic Identification
Technologies (AIT). The same National Defense Industrial
Association-sponsored Unique Identification (UID) Industry Leadership
Advisory Group (ILAG) that was organised "in March 2005  at the
suggestion of the US Department of Defence (DoD) UID Program Manager
to serve as a defense industry focal point for government-industry
collaboration and coordination in developing UID implementation policy
and procedures."

Notably, Defence Procurement and acquisition policy office in the US
DoD has a "Unique Identification" (UID) section for "in tracking and
reporting the value of items the Government owns", "Item Unique
Identification (IUID) Standards for Tangible Personal Property" and
"Unique Identification (UID) Standards for a Net-Centric Department of
Defense" that cites "Department of Defense Chief Information Officer
(CIO) Memorandum, "DoD Net-Centric Data Strategy"" dated 9 May 2003.

It is stated that IUID requirement does not apply to "software,
manuals, etc." and "commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) items" but it
applies to "not-for-profit contracts such as research contracts with
universities", "classified items", "foreign military sales", "small
businesses", "government-furnished property", "Defense Logistics
Agency (DLA) requests" "models, prototypes, or development items
delivered to DoD".

US Department of Defence uses both Radio Frequency Identification
(RFID) and Item Unique Identification (IUID). "Within IUID, the unique
item identifier (UII) is a piece of data associated with an item that
uniquely identifies it throughout its life. RFID is a vehicle for
holding and sharing data. IUID of tangible items deals with physical
markings applied directly (or indirectly via label, data plate, etc.)
on items. IUID also requires data to be captured about the item and
submitted electronically to a registry database. It is thought of as
creating a birth certificate for the item. On a superficial level,
IUID and RFID employ different technologies. IUID utilises an
optically scannable 2-dimensional data matrix barcode to carry
information whereas RFID utilises some form of integrated circuitry to
encode information and produce radio waves which can be received and
interpreted at a greater distance with a radio antenna and receiver.

Notably, RFID has been recommended in India for installation vehicles
and libraries. A briefing paper of Government of India observed that
"Information or an opinion about an individual" is personal sensitive

Functionally, IUID's purpose within the (US) DoD is "to uniquely
identify individual items". The purpose of RFID within the (US) DoD is
"to identify cases, pallets, or packages which contain items". UID
Policy Office of US DoD has a number of working groups to support the
development and implementation of the UID policy. These include
Working Groups on: Logistics IUID Task Force, Industry Leadership
Advisory Group (ILAG), Wide Area Work Flow (WAWF)/UID/RFID Users
Group, Property Management, Joint Aeronautical Commanders, Government
Furnished Property Industry, Federal Acquisition Regulation, Business
Rules, Standards, Implementation, Technical Interface and IUID Quality

Biometrics technology companies like Raytheon Company who were awarded
by National Defense Industrial Association in 2009 participated in the
ILAG. They have created an artificial need to sell their surveillance
products in India unmindful of its dehumanising ramifications. It is
these entities which are behind the biometric UID/Aadhaar project and
the Bill to sell their products.

The preamble of The National Identification Authority (NIDAI) Bill,
2010 which was rejected by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on
Finance reveals that it is meant "for the purpose of issuing
identification numbers to individuals residing in India and to certain
other classes of individuals". There are two parts to the phrase
"individuals residing in India and to certain other classes of

The first part refers to "resident" as an individual usually residing
in a village or rural area or town or ward or demarcated area
(demarcated by the Registrar of Citizen Registration) within a ward in
a town or urban area in India." This motivated definition of the term
resident in the Section 2 (q) of the NIDAI Bill accords wide scope to
the Bill. It leaves the definition vague about the Indians who are
residing abroad temporarily, non-resident Indians (NRIs), persons of
Indian origin (PIOs) and refugees. By now, Indians know that there are
NRIs and PIOs of all ilk and shades whose role merits rigorous
attention. The second part of the phrase is "certain other classes of
individuals". The first part is defined but the second part has not
been defined.

The National Identification Authority (NIDAI) Bill, 2013 which was
re-approved by the Union Cabinet on 8 October 2013 was listed for
introduction in the winter session of the Parliament between, but it
could not be introduced. In the new version, "certain other classes of
individuals" have been substituted with "certain other categories of
individuals to enable establishing the identity."

In the NIDAI Bill 2010, Section 4(3) reads, "An Aadhaar number shall,
subject to authentication, be accepted as proof of identity of the
Aadhaar number holder."

In the NIDAI Bill, 2013, Section 4 (3) reads, "An Aadhaar number in
physical or electronic form, subject to authentication and other
conditions as may be specified by regulations, shall be accepted as
proof of identity and proof of address." Along with it is added an
"Explanation—For the purposes of this sub-section, the expression
"electronic form" shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in
clause (r) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Information
Technology Act, 2000."

Section 9 of the Bill reads: "The Authority shall not require any
individual to give information pertaining to his race, religion,
caste, tribe, ethnicity, language, income or health." The issue here
is once someone has been biometrically profiled and identified
'Prohibition on requiring certain information' becomes irrelevant. But
the question is how biometric information is less sensitive than
information regarding race, religion, caste, tribe, ethnicity,
language, income or health collection of which is prohibited?

Section 10 of the Bill reads: The Authority shall take special
measures to issue Aadhaar number to women, children, senior citizens,
persons with disability, migrant unskilled and un-organised workers,
nomadic tribes or to such other persons who do not have any permanent
dwelling house and such other categories of individuals as may be
specified by regulations." It does not reveal or define the "special
measures" being deployed to trap these categories of people in the

The Bill makes a specific distinction between the "identity
information" in respect of an individual means biometric information,
demographic information and Aadhaar number of such individuals" and
"demographic information" that includes information relating to the
name, age, gender and address of an individual (other than race,
religion, caste, tribe, ethnicity, language, income or health), and
such other information as may be specified in the regulations for the
purpose of issuing an Aadhaar number. It refers to "biometric
information" as "a set of such biological attributes of an individual
as may be specified by regulations." It is important to note that
although Planning Commission or Ministry of Home Affairs does not have
the legal mandate to collect biometric data instead of seeking that
mandate under the NIDAI Bill, there is once again an effort being made
to do it through sub-ordinate legislation.

The Bill defines "Central Identities Data Repository" (CIDR) as "a
centralised database in one or more locations containing all Aadhaar
numbers issued to Aadhaar number holders along with the corresponding
demographic information and biometric information of such individuals
and other information related thereto." It is not made clear as to why
CIDR will be at "one or more locations."

Now, if one looks at the definition of "authentication" in the Bill
which is defined as "the process wherein, Aadhaar number along with
other attributes (including biometrics) are submitted to the Central
Identities Data Repository for its verification and such Repository
verifies the correctness thereof on the basis of information or data
or documents available with it," it implies that authentication using
CIDR of an "Aadhaar number holder", an individual who has been issued
an Aadhaar number, will be done at "one or more locations."

It is quite apparent that these locations can be private companies. In
effect, a private company of Indian or/and foreign origin will
authenticate whether a resident of India is definitely the same person
as he/she claims to be. As an implication identity of an Indian
citizen is going to be decided by a company, which can be a National
Information Utility (NIU), a private company with a public purpose
with a profit making as the motive but not maximising profit.

Most of those who are in public life are in the fifth column because
of either their naivety or their seemingly apolitical tunnel vision
which makes them act treacherously in a historical vacuum. It is
evident that in India, knowingly or unknowingly many institutions and
individuals are acting like this column, a party that is acting with
the foreign and corporate entities to subvert the very idea of India
and Indian civilisation under the influence of their supervisors.

Do Indians need to ponder over—who all are in the fifth column, which
institutions are acting like this column and isn't there a need to
know the identity of those in the column in question?

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