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Aadhaar Linkages case: Sibal points out the many ways data can be compromised

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The hearings on Aadhaar and its various linkages and privacy and security issued attached to them continued before the Supreme Court constitution bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan on Wednesday (February 7).

The following deliberations took place:

11:34am: Senior advocate Kapil Sibal continued his submissions. He talked about identity information which requires authentication as per section 2(c) of the Aadhaar Act. This means Aadhaar number along with biometric or demographic information. He argued that this part has been wrongly drafted. It means that only

these two pieces of data can be submitted for the purposes of authentication.

He said that while photograph is included in biometric, it has been excluded in code biometric. He said that no alternative information can be given. Aadhaar Act is only for Aadhaar information and nothing else, Sibal said.

“Hence, for every Aadhaar card, the individual’s photograph will also be present,” he said. “There is a definition of identity information in the Act itself.”

At that Justice Ashok Bhushan pointed out:  “The alternatives are for double-checking.”

Sobal said: “It’s a legal argument and not political argument that you’re reducing me to one identity. Section 2(m) is not inclusive, it is exhaustive as pointed out by justice Chandrachud.”

Justice Sikri said: “If I don’t have the Aadhaar number, I still exist…” to which Sibal agrees, saying “we are more than just an Aadhaar number.”

Sibal says: “Section 8(3)(c) proposes that only three methods of identity information should be available. Secondly, there is no centralised database. Regulation 4 refers to modes of information. It gives you an idea what of authentication is. There is no other mode. Regulation 5 has to be read with 8(3)(c).”

He said: “If you have your authentication on your smart cards, your biometrics cannot go anywhere, hence no one can steal anything. That’s what most jurisdictions do, especially in the UK.”

Justice Bhushan said: “That regulation 5 has an overriding affect.”

Ibal said: “The act says that the number qualifies for the identity information. That means I can establish my identity via Aadhaar. Once I establish my identity information with the help of Aadhaar, no one can question me.”

“Read the Act in consonance with the provisions of the constitution,” says Sibal.

“If we accept your submissions, the constitutional validity of this becomes substantive,” says justice Chandrachud. “Under this statute, you have to collect information, which is not a state activity. Use of Aadhaar number to establish identity by the state or a body corporate under the law… that answers all of the ‘who’ and ‘how’ questions.”

Sibal says: “It must be assured that my property is protected. It is licensed out to agencies, etc. Now, because it is my property, i.e. my information, hence it must be protected and I must be assured that it is done.

“In a digital world my property cannot be retrieved, unlike in the physical world. If I have lost my property, in the physical world, it can be retrieved. If not, compensation would be provided. In the digital world, nothing can be protected. We’re not dealing with the physical world,” submitted Sibal.

“The digital world will know more about you than you would know; that’s where the world is heading towards,” he said. “In the USA, it is said that the digital world is like a Jurassic Park.”

“Data can arguably be divided into two types, Meta data and messages. Aadhaar is linked to every journey. Meta data is the information minus the messages. You’re making me vulnerable,” said Sibal.

“Unnecessary information is being stored because of Aadhaar and the vulnerability is the violation of my rights. The point is, an individual’s data who is not a criminal, should not be in the public domain.”

Justice Sikri gave a counter situation where a member of a particular airline travels even the airline retains the data about your traveling trend. What is so different about Aadhaar being linked to your railway ticket?”

Sibal continued: “CDR becomes a single target for cyber criminals for external and internal attacks according to an RBI report. A recent RBI report has explained that CDR has been targeted. According to this, because of Aadhaar there is a readily available platform for cyber criminals. It’s a staff paper/report. We need to have safeguards.”

“There’s a need for care. It does not straightaway talk about vulnerability,” Justice Chandrachud commented. “Every centralised depository can be hacked and using Fevicol and wax, by making a mould, anyone without even any technical knowledge can derive your fingerprint.”

At that Sibal said: “Once the national based information is compromised, we cannot do anything. Any criminal can take a defence that my fingerprints were stolen during every criminal trial,” Sibal said.

“By creating a 3D image of a fingerprint, once infringed through using a fingerprint app as in Android phones, the infringer can use it anywhere he wants, Sibal said.

“Airtel was benefitted by using latest Aadhaar, where new bank accounts were opened and the bonus/benefits the people earned were transferred into that Airtel bank. Hence, Aadhaar wouldn’t be a reliable source of information for the benefits to them,” Sibal said.

“And most benefits are received by aged people. Biometrics of children and the aged cannot be relied upon, as they don’t come to be very accurate. Further, it’s not reliable in cases of disabled people. The statute contemplates breaches.”

12.47 pm: “It will encourage bribery as big corporate competitors will pay money to get information, Sibal said. “The larger the data base, greater the chance of rejection of Aadhaar enrolment.

1.03pm: Adhaar matter adjourned to February 8.

– India Legal Bureau

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi reveals plan for ambitious 2047 Viksit Bharat project, says work for the project has been ongoing for last 2 years

The Prime Minister said that he does not mean to scare or suppress anyone, but rather has plans to make India a developed nation by 2047.

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A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its election manifesto, which aims at building a Viksit Bharat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an interview with the media, outlined his vision for India’s development by 2047. He also addressed concerns raised by the opposition parties, who suggest that the BJP might seek to amend the Constitution if re-elected in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his assurance to the people that they do not need to fear when he said that he has big plans for the country in his election speeches. Explaining statement, the Prime Minister said that he does not mean to scare or suppress anyone, but rather has plans to make India a developed nation by 2047.

Speaking to the media, PM Modi said, when he says that he has big plans, no one should be scared. He said he does not take decisions to scare or run-over anyone, he takes decisions for the wholesome development of the country. He added the government always says they have done everything.  He said he did not believe that he had done everything. He added he had tried to do everything in the right direction, yet there is so much he needed to do, because he saw that his country has so many needs.

The Prime minister asked how did he fulfill the dreams of every family? He said this is the reason why he said this has been a trailer. PM Modi said he had been working on the ambitious 2047 Viksit Bharat project for the past two years. And for that, he asked for opinions and suggestions from people across India.  He said he had taken suggestions from more than 15 lakh people on how they want to see India in the coming 25 years.

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Kangana Ranaut meets Dalai Lama in Dharamshala shares pictures on social media ahead of Lok Sabha elections, post goes viral

The Bollywood actor met Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in Himachal Pradesh’s Dharamshala and said it as one of the most memorable moments of her life.

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The Bollywood actor and BJP candidate for the Mandi Lok Sabha seat met Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in Himachal Pradesh’s Dharamshala on Monday. She said it as one of the most memorable moments of her life. Kangana Ranaut also shared pictures on social media.

The Lok Sabha elections in Himachal Pradesh are scheduled for June 1, marking the seventh phase of elections to elect four members of the 18th Lok Sabha. As the voting day is still over a month away, candidates contesting in the 4 constituencies are actively participating in various campaign activities. Among them, the BJP’s star candidate Kangana Ranaut, who is contesting from Mandi against Congress’s Vikramaditya Singh, is leaving no stone unturned to win the votes of the people.

Kangana Ranaut also shared what Dalai Lama told her during the meeting. She said, his Holiness ji said that he enjoys being in Himachal Pradesh and absolutely loves Bharat. She said this is such a privilege and such an honour. After her meeting with the spiritual leader, the actor told the media that it was divine. She said it was an experience which she will cherish all her life. She thought it is exceptional to be in the presence of such a being who has sheer divinity around him. She said it was very emotional for her and ex-CM Jairam Thakur. She added she will cherish this experience all her life.

Earlier, Kangana Ranaut slammed Himachal Pradesh minister Vikramaditya Singh for calling her the queen of controversies while she was addressing a poll rally in Mandi. She said, Yeh tumhare baap-dada ki riyasat nahin hai, ke tum mujhe dara, dhamka ke vapis bhej doge. She further added this is the new Bharat of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where a small, poor boy who used to sell tea is the biggest hero and pradhan sevak of the people.

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India News

Election Commission records highest inducement seizure of Rs 4,650 crore ahead of Lok Sabha election

The Election Commission of India records highest inducement seizure of Rs 4,650 in 75-years of history.

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced on Monday that the upcoming Lok Sabha elections are expected to witness the highest ever seizures of inducements.

According to a notification from the poll board, enforcement agencies had already seized a record Rs 4,650 crore before the first round of polling, which is yet to start. This was a significant increase over the Rs 3,475 crores seized during the entire Lok Sabha election in 2019.

As part of a level playing field, the Election Commission said that the enhanced seizures reflect ECI’s unwavering commitment to monitor inducements and curb electoral malpractices, particularly in favour of smaller and less resourceful parties.

Significantly, narcotics and drugs, which are the Commission’s main focus, account for 45% of the seizures. The poll body continued, the seizures have been made possible by thorough planning, increased cooperation and coordinated deterrent action by agencies, proactive public participation, and optimal use of technology.

The commission also made statistics on the distribution of inducements that were seized available for public consumption by state. With a seizure of over Rs 778 crore, Rajasthan topped the list. Gujarat came in second with Rs 605 crore, and Maharashtra came in third with roughly Rs 431 crore.

When announcing the polls last month, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar highlighted money power as one of the 4M challenges, along with money, muscle, misinformation, and Model Code of Conduct violations.

Use of black money, over and above political financing and accurate disclosure thereof, may disturb the level playing field in favor of a more resourceful party or candidate in specific geographies, the panel stated in its statement released on Monday.

The poll authority claims that the seizures are an essential part of the ECI’s resolve to hold fair elections for the Lok Sabha that are free from electoral malpractices and inducements.

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