Tuesday, March 8, 2011

246 - adhaar data privacy concerns were misplaced’ - The Financial Express

Nistula Hebbar
Posted: Friday, Oct 01, 2010 at 0101 hrs IST

New Delhi: A day after the rollout of the first Aadhaar numbers from the tribal heartland of Maharashtra, Aadhaar chief Nandan Nilekani said privacy and data protection concerns were misplaced. In fact, Aadhaar firewalls were being offered to all government registrars, he said.

Aadhaar registrars include the revenue department, the RGI and other government departments. “It is a government-to-government exchange of data, so there should not be a problem with it,” he said.

“Our database is like a black hole, once the data is entered it cannot go out. The only use of the database is to authenticate your identity in your presence,” he said.

On concerns expressed by rights activist over data vulnerability, Nilekani made it clear that UID was not the only platform where such fears existed. “Credit card companies, passport forms, mobile phone connection forms, deal with far more intrusive data, therefore we suggested that all these issues can be taken on board by an over arching law dealing with privacy and data protection,” he said.

Incidentally, a group set up under department of personnel and training (DoPT) Shantanu Consul is in the process of firming up suggestions for a new law on data protection.

The next big challenge, Nilekani said was not privacy but scaling up the Aadhaar operations and enrollments. “We are looking at scaling up to millions of enrollments per month,” he said. Seven states have signed up for a post-October scaling up including Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Jharkhand.

“We will also test out the various applications that we want to link with the Aadhaar numbers including the public distribution system, MGNREGA, and financial inclusion,” he said.

Next stop is using Aadhaar numbers to implement the Food Security Bill.