Monthly Archives: September 2013

Aadhar Card Cannot Be Made Mandatory For Availing Public Services In India: Supreme Court

Aadhar Card Cannot Be Made Mandatory For Availing Public Services In India Supreme CourtFinally the Supreme Court of India has come to the rescue of Indian citizens and their hard earned money that has been illegally spent over personal ambitions of few named as Aadhaar project.

Supreme Court of India has declared that Aadhaar card cannot be made mandatory or compulsory for availing public services in India. The Court has also held that only residents of India are allowed to get Aadhaar cards.

The net result of this order of Indian Supreme Court is that now public utilities cannot demand that their services cannot be availed of in the absence of an Aadhaar card. Previously various public utilities institutions and organisations were insisting upon an Aadhaar card and thereby engaging in illegal demands and transactions.

Now no governmental organisation or its agencies can demand Aadhaar card for marriage registration, disbursal of salaries and provident funds, opening of bank accounts, money transfers, LPG gas connections, etc. If any individual or organisation asks for Aadhaar card as a compulsory document, he/it would be doing an illegal act.

From the very beginning there was no doubt that Aadhaar project is an unconstitutional project that must be scrapped immediately. However, Indian government not only kept this unconstitutional project alive but also actively kept on feeding it at the cost of public exchequer.

When Indian government kept on pushing this illegal project, some public spirited citizens filed various writ petitions in different High Courts of India to challenge the same.

There are unconstitutional and illegal biometrics collection practices happening in India that clearly violates the constitutional freedoms of Indian citizens. The bottom line is that biometrics collection is unconstitutional in India.

As on date, the Aadhaar project of India is not governed by any law and parliamentary oversight. Aadhar project of India is always portrayed as a welfare scheme. In reality, Aadhar project and UIDAI have evil intentions. In fact, Aadhar project and UIDAI are the most evil projects of India till now. What is more surprising is why this e-surveillance and big brother project has not been scrapped by the Prime Minister’s office (PMO).

The Supreme Court of India has achieved a major portion of the task and the only thing that remains to be done is to declare the Aadhaar project illegal and unconstitutional. But it would be a good face saving exercise for Indian government if it scraps the Aadhaar project itself before any such direction comes from Indian Supreme Court.

Legal Framework For National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) Project Of India Needed

Legal Framework For National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) Project Of India NeededThe National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid) Project of India is a very ambitious and much needed initiative provided it is adopted and executed in a legal and constitutional manner. The Natgrid project would be legal and constitutional if the same is supported by a constitutionally sound law.

However, Indian government is not very much interested in enacting suitable laws that can reconcile the civil liberty and national security requirements in India. For instance, the unique identification authority of India (UIDAI) is running the unconstitutional Aadhar project even at the cost of civil liberties, constitutional rights and public money. Similarly, the central monitoring system of India has been implemented with great disregard to civil liberties and without any legal framework.

Now the Indian government is once again committing the same old blunder. As per the Economic Times, the home ministry will soon issue an executive order to give a legal framework to Natgrid. This would grant 11 security agencies real-time access to 21 citizen databases to track terror activities. There are serious civil liberties issues involved in such a preposition and such an executive order would not be free from illegalities.

The need for such a executive order has dawned upon the government as the various ministries and departments, called as the “provider agencies” that hold the 21 citizen databases like bank account details, telephone records, passport data and vehicle registration details, will need a “legal mandate” to link and share their databases in real-time through the Natgrid with the various intelligence and investigative agencies, termed as “user agencies”.

But this is hardly a method that can be termed as constitutional and it would be definitely challenged in Indian courts.

Microsoft, Google Plan To Sue US Government Regarding User Data Requests Under FISA Law

Microsoft, Google Plan To Sue US Government Regarding User Data Requests Under FISA LawTech giants like Google and Microsoft have been fighting against U.S. governmental anarchy and unaccountability for long. They have been partially successful in this regard. For instance Google’s challenge to FBI National Security Letters (NSLs) has been narrowed down by the Court.

Google has been facing both legal and technological hurdles in its fight against lack of transparency and accountability on the part of U.S. government. While gag orders have successfully made it silent on numerous occasions yet cyber attacks upon the systems managing the lawful interception and e-surveillance issues of Google have also been launched.

Microsoft has recently disclosed that negotiations to reveal details of secret U.S. government requests for internet user data have failed to materialise and the matter would now be decided in a court of law.  In fact, Microsoft and Google have already filed suits in a U.S. federal court in June, arguing a right to make public more information about user data requests made under the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Although U.S. officials have assured that they would begin publishing annual tallies of national security requests for internet user data yet tech companies are not satisfied with this step as this approach clearly lacks the clarity. Companies are insisting that it is vital to publish information that clearly shows the number of national security demands for user content, such as the text of an email. In short, they are insisting that along with providing numbers of requests, disclosures should provide context regarding what is being sought.

Companies have been insisting that the U.S. government should ensure that those companies who are entrusted with the privacy and security of their users’ data are allowed to regularly report statistics reflecting the number of government requests for information about their users made under specific legal authorities such as Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, the various National Security Letter (NSL) statutes, and others, the number of individuals, accounts, or devices for which information was requested under each authority and the number of requests under each authority that sought communications content, basic subscriber information, and/or other information.

The Companies also believe that the government should also augment the annual reporting that is already required by statute by issuing its own regular “transparency report” providing the same information: the total number of requests under specific authorities for specific types of data, and the number of individuals affected by each.

The Companies are maintaining that till these objectives are fulfilled, the agencies must agree that Internet, telephone, and web-based service providers may publish specific numbers regarding government requests authorized under specific national security authorities, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the NSL statutes. The companies have also requested the U.S. Congress to pass legislation requiring comprehensive transparency reporting by the federal government and clearly allowing for transparency reporting by companies without requiring companies to first seek permission from the government or the FISA Court.

Basic information about how the U.S. government uses its various law enforcement–related investigative authorities has been published for years without any apparent disruption to criminal investigations. The Companies now seek permission for the same information to be made available regarding the government’s national security–related authorities.

This information about how and how often the government is using these legal authorities is important to the American people, who are entitled to have an informed public debate about the appropriateness of those authorities and their use, and to international users of US-based service providers who are concerned about the privacy and security of their communications.

The Utah Data Center is considered to be a facility for e-surveillance though the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) denies the same. Similarly, James Clapper has confirmed during the PRISM outbreak that NSA is targeting foreign citizens for surveillance.

With the ever increasing e-surveillance and eavesdropping by governments around the world, technological safeguards must be adopted to fight the same. These technological safeguards must be fully supported with legal protections, especially those available under the Constitutions of various countries.