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Why Nilekani gave contacts to Safran Group & took awards from it

Written By Krishna on Thursday, September 05, 2013 | 4:48 AM

Press Release

Why UIDAI gave contacts to Safran Group, French conglomerate and Nilekani of UIDAI took award from Safran sponsored ID WORLD International Congress

Supreme Court to hear Biometric Identity Database case on September 23, most media houses appear complicit with biometric technology companies

Central Govt’s orders on creation of biometric database, an ordinance bye-passing Parliament

Boycott biometric data collection by Home Ministry; Aadhaar/UID, NPR violate security, privacy; subvert constitution and democracy

States must withdraw from the MoU signed with legally questionable UIDAI

New Delhi September 5, 2013: The Writ Petition (Civil) of Justice K S Puttaswamy, former judge of the Karnataka High Court that was heard on September 2, 2013 before Hon’ble Supreme Court. The petition echoes some of the concerns raised by seventeen eminent citizens like Justice V R Krishna, Justice A P Shah, Prof. Upendra Baxi and the findings of the Parliamentary Standing on Finance in the matter of the implementation of world biggest ever biometric data based identification exercise.
The petition refers to a letter of a member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, Justice M. Rama Jois, addressed a letter to the Prime Minister in this regard on 19.01.2011 pointing out to the constitutional impropriety of issuing Aadhar Numbers even when the Bill aforesaid was pending before the parliament. But surprisingly, to the said letter, he received a reply dated January 29, 2011 simply stating that the Prime Minister has received his letter without replying to the points raised in his letter.
Justice Puttaswamy is a former Judge of the Karnataka High Court since 1977 and after retirement he was Vice Chairman of Central Administrative Tribunal, Bangalore Bench, Bangalore. He was Chairman of Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunal, Hyderabad and also Chairman, Andhra Pradesh Backward Class Commission. The petitioner wants that the executive and legislature must function within the frame work of the Constitutional provisions so that Government “does not circumvent the legislature to avoid discussion, debate and voting in the Parliament and thereby render the legislature redundant or purposeless.”
The writ petition submitted, “the petitioner states that collecting Biometric information as a condition precedent for the issue of Aadhar number is an invasion of the right to privacy of citizens and therefore this can be done only by the law enacted by the Parliament and beyond the executive power.”
Taking note of the fact that “Aadhar number is issued under Section 3 of the (UID) Bill to a non citizen on the ground that he is residing in this Country, he becomes entitled to the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution as fundamental rights under Article 14 and 21 are available to all persons in India and consequently also right to a remedy under Article 32 of the constitution of India”, the petition submits, “it is a matter of great security concern for the nation also. When such is the magnitude of the provisions of the Bill, still it is sought to be implemented by the exercise of executive power without any discussion, debate and the approval by both the Houses of the Parliament.”
The petition asks the Supreme Court, “what is the contours of the executive powers of the Central Government under Article 73 and whether the executive power vested in the Union can be exercised so as to adversely affect the fundamental right to privacy and in a manner so as to bye-pass the legislative power of the Parliament? And render the Bill Purposeless. “The petitioners are constrained to state that the subject matter involved in the Bill is of serious consequences to the right to privacy of the citizens of the Country and also right to secrecy of their personal matter and involves colossal expenditure to the Union.”
It asks “whether the executive power could be used in a manner so as to make the legislative power redundant or in other words, whether by the exercise of executive power, the executive can circumvent the Parliament? However, having regard to the far reaching importance of the matter which is highly controversial and involves colossal expenditure, which is sure to become a waste if and when the Parliament rejects the Bill, or for any reason the scheme becomes impracticable rendering the enormous money spent till then a National Waste.”
The petition prays Hon’ble Supreme Court for issuance of “a writ in the nature of mandamus restraining the respondents from issuing Aadhaar Numbers by way of implementing its executive order dated 28.01.2009 which tantamount to implementing the provisions of the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010 pending before the Parliament until and unless the said Bill is considered and passed by the parliament and becomes an Act of parliament.” On the grounds that “The scheme formulated by the Central Government in its notification dated 28.01.2009 constituting Unique Identification Authority of India [UIDAI] and authorizing it to issue aadhaar numbers which adversely affect the fundamental right to privacy flowing from Article 21 of the constitution, cannot be implemented unless it becomes a law enacted by the Parliament.”
On the ground that “When the Government has introduced the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010 in the Rajya Sabha for the same purpose for which the executive order dated 28.01.2009 was issued, and the same has been rejected by the Standing Committee, Finance, to which it was referred, can still implement its executive order without bringing the Bill for consideration before the Parliament for purpose of discussion, debate and passing by it and before it became an Act of parliament.” 
Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), a research and advocacy group has been campaigning against unregulated biometric, surveillance and identification technology companies since 2010 and had appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee, Finance in this regard. Justice M. Rama Jois, MP, Rajya Sabha had shared his views with the Parliamentary Committee as well.
CFCL has consistently underlined that the silence of the States which are quite vocal about threats to federal structure from Union Home Ministry‘s National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) that integrates 21 sets of databases in the matter of the creation of UID’s Centralized Identities Data Register (CIDR) disregarding the fact that Planning Commission’s CIDR and Home Ministry’s National Population Register (NPR) is inexplicable. 
The acceptance of the petition by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Subordinate Legislation with regard biometric data collection related to Planning Commission's Aadhaar/Unique Identification (UID) Number and Home Ministry's National Population Register (NPR) besides the order of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Case No. 349/90/0/2012/OC dated December 27, 2012 merits attention. 

In an order date December 27, 2012 addressed to Secretary, Union Ministry of Home Affairs, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has communicated human rights concerns regarding UID and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) submitted to it by CFCL. http://nhrc.nic.in/display.asp?fno=349/90/0/2012

Earlier, NHRC had expressed its deep concerns and apprehensions about UID and "biometric information" in its submission before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance.  

In the matter of National Identification Authority of India (NIAI) Bill, 2010, “NHRC’s views on the NIAI Bill, 2010″ in the Human Rights Newsletter (Vol. 18 No.8, August 2011) reveals that UID/Aadhaar Number has dangerous ramifications is quite relevant in this regard. NHRC’s view was presented to the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Finance. The PSC submitted its report to the Parliament on December 13, 2011. 

Echoing NHRC’s view on “need for protection of information” and “the possibility of tampering with stored biometric information” in paragraph 5 (page no. 7 of the NHRC newsletter) and “disclosure of information in the interest of national security” mentioned in paragraph 9 (page no.8 of the newsletter), the Central Government’s Approach Paper for Legislation on Privacy dated October 13, 2010 admits, “India does not currently have a general data protection statute” as per information received from Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions through Letter Reference No.071/1/2010/-IR dated October 18, 2010.
It may be noted that Nandan Manohar Nilekani of UIDAI was given ID Limelight Award at the ID WORLD International Congress, 2010 in Milan, Italy on November 16, 2010 during the Conference held in Milan from November 16 to 18. Besides AB Notes, the key sponsor of the ID Congress included Safran Morpho (Safran group), a French multinational corporation specializing in ID credentials solutions incorporating biometrics application in passports, visas, ID documents, health and social benefits, elections, etc. Its subsidiary, Sagem Morpho Security Pvt. Ltd has been awarded contract for the purchase of Biometric Authentication Devices on February 2, 2011 by the UIDAI.
Earlier, on July 30, 2010, in a joint press release, it was announced that “the Mahindra Satyam and Morpho led consortium has been selected as one of the key partners to implement and deliver the Aadhaar program by UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India).” This means that at least two contracts have been awarded to the French conglomerate led consortium.  Is it a coincidence that Morpho (Safran group) sponsored the award to Chairman, UIDAI and the former got a contract from the latter?
Nilekani was given the award "For being the force behind a transformational project ID project in India...and "to provide identification cards for each resident across the country and would be used primarily as the basis for efficient delivery of welfare services. It would also act as a tool for effective monitoring of various programs and schemes of the Government."
It may also be noted that UIDAI awarded contracts to three companies namely, Satyam Computer Services Ltd. (Mahindra Satyam), as part of a “Morpho led consortium”, L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company and Accenture Services Pvt. Ltd of USA for the “Implementation of Biometric Solution for UIDAI” on July 30, 2010.
Notably, Davinder Kumar, Deputy Director General, UIDAI will have residents/ citizens of India believe that the three transnational biometric technology companies working with foreign intelligence agencies namely:1) Mahindra Satyam Computer Services/Sagem Morpho, 2) L1 Identities Solutions and 3) Accenture Services who have been awarded contracts by UIDAI that “There are no  means to verify whether the said companies are of US origin or not” in a reply to Right to Information (RTI) application dated 21st July, 2011.
Didn’t Nilekani know the country of origin of the award and their sponsors who were givren contracts by UIDAI prior to taking the award?
The list of speakers included Steven G. Singer (Chairman and CEO - American Banknote Corporation), Andreas Reisen (Head of Division "Passports and Identity Documents, Identification Systems" - Federal Ministry of the Interior, Germany), Chris Onyemenam (Director General & CEO - National Identity Management Commission, Nigeria), Tariq Malik (Deputy Chairman - NADRA), Abdul Hameed (Chairman - Pakistan Post), M.S. Srikar (Private Secretary to the Chairman, Unique Identification Authority India (UIDAI)), Dr. Sreeni Tripuraneni (CEO - 4G Identity Solutions), Ashok Bhanaut  (Chairman - Genkey), Billa Bhandari (Consultant, IT Strategy & Vision - Indian School of Business), R. K. Bajaj (Commissioner of Income Tax - Ministry of Finance, India), Dr. Joseph Atick (Executive Vice President & Chief Strategic Officer - L-1 Identity Solutions), Dr. Suzan Ahmed (Health Informatics & Health Systems - Min. of Health, UAE) and others.
Coincidentally, this Global Summit on Automatic Identification in 2009 had awarded Tariq Malik, Deputy Chairman of Islamabad based National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) too for implementing UID like project in Pakistan since 2000. Malik is currently the chairman of NADRA since July 11, 2012.  NADRA was established as National Database Organization (NDO), an attached department under the Ministry of Interior in 1998. On 10 March, 2000, NDO & Directorate General of Registration (DGR) merged to form NADRA, an independent corporate body with requisite autonomy to operate independently and facilitate good governance.  With the mandate of developing a system for re-registering 150 million citizens, NADRA launched the Multi-Biometric National Identity Card project developed in conformance with international security documentation issuance practices in the year 2000. The list of speakers at the 2009 Congress included Robert Leibrandt (Deputy for UID Policy Office - US Secretary of Defense), R. K. Bajaj (Commissioner of Income Tax - Ministry of Finance, India). Notably, NADRA Chairman was a speaker at the 2006 Congress itself along with L1 and others.

The 2007 Congress speakers included Dr. Frank Paul (Directorate-General of Justice, Freedom and Security, European Commission), John Wagner (US Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security), Ian Neill (eBorders Programme, UK Home Office), Gert Versluis (Dutch Ministry of Justice), Brig. Salem Ahmed Moeen (National Database and Registration Authority Pakistan NADRA).  
The details of Congress held from 2003 and 2005 appear to be missing now. At the 2003 Congress, General John Watkins, former U.S. Department of Defense was one of the participants during November 20 - 21, 2003 in Paris.
Given the fact that convergence of citizens’ personal sensitive information is being converged and is making right to have citizens’ rights dependent on State’s whims and fancies at the behest of ungovernable technology companies, States must un-sign the MoUs they have signed with the UIDAI whose legality is questionable to protect the rights of the citizens of their respective States. Although belated legislative assemblies, councils, panchayati raj institutions, Gram Sabhas, universities etc must examine the illegality and illegitimacy of biometric data based identifications of citizens and put a stay on the implementation of UID and NPR related projects.  
Media houses ought to consider deploying legal minds to examine the questionable nature of world's biggest biometric database (UID-NPR initiatives). If it is not done it will bring disrepute when students of journalism will undertake content analysis of the reporting of the issue which has seminal importance for the present and future generations. 

 For Details: Gopal Krishna, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) Mb: 9818089660, E-mail: gopalkrishna1715@gmail.com

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