India’s Supreme Court has placed strict limits on Aadhaar, the government’s sweeping biometrics-based national identity program, but questions about the imposition of technological solutions and privacy remain.
In a major ruling on Sept. 26, a bench of five Supreme Court justices — three of whom wrote the majority judgment — upheld the constitutional legitimacy of the Aadhaar program and ruled that the government could use it to deliver welfare to beneficiaries and collect income tax. But the court struck down provisions that allowed corporations to demand citizen identification numbers for a range of services.
Aadhaar started as a voluntary program, meant only to refine the delivery of public services and curb corruption.… Seguir leyendo »
The Indian government is in thrall of the dazzle and promise of technology, seeing in it a vehicle to overcome the inefficiencies of its humongous bureaucratic apparatus. Shortly before coming to power in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi positioned himself as a digital governance evangelist.
A few months into his tenure, the Indian government began using biometric devices to tell on government employees who didn’t turn up for work. The state of Gujarat, which Mr. Modi had ruled for more than a decade, took to using biometrics to red-pen students who skipped school. Mr. Modi has argued that digital payments will check “black money” — the Indian term for unaccounted, often illegally acquired wealth — and other forms of corruption.… Seguir leyendo »