Security, Corruption, Myopic Vision, E-Surveillance And Indian Projects

Law enforcement and anti terrorism concerns are the sure shot formula for converting a welfare society into an orwellian state. Our Home Minister Mr. P Chidambaram is also following the same formula. He is leaving no stone unturned in this regard. Whether it is National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) Project or Aadhar Project/UID Project, the end objective is the same, i.e. making India an endemic e-surveillance society.

India is so blinded by the concept of Orwellian State that it fails to realise what is happening to countries that have tried similar projects and have failed miserably. The only justification for sticking to these projects even if they are Unconstitutional, illegal and bound to fail can be either attributed to lack of insight or corruption. Let us discuss few failed projects of the role models on whose basis India is committing these blunders.

The Central Government is working upon a Rs 2,000-crore ambitious project titled Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS). A similar initiative undertaken by the US Government to modernise the FBI’s crime tracking system known as the Virtual Case File failed miserably due to lack of planning and effective strategies. The same would happen in case of India.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has put on hold the Natgrid project of India temporarily due to absence of safeguards to protect civil liberties of Indians. Natgrid is still at hold as privacy protection safeguards have not yet been established by the project coordinators.

Experience from countries like UK and US has shown that projects similar to Natgrid and Aadhar have been great failures and were ultimately scrapped off completely. These countries have learnt this hard way by spending crores of money before saying a final good bye to these projects.

For instance, recently, UK scraped National ID project as it was too expensive and an infringement of civil liberties. The Aadhar project/UID project of India would also face similar fate as it is also violative of civil liberties of Indians and is unconstitutional and illegal.

The latest to join this list is the declaration by the British Government that it will review counter-terrorism laws. This review has been triggered after it came to government’s notice that security and law enforcement forces across the country have misused the controversial powers. There is no reason why projects like Aadhar, Natgrid, CCTNS, etc would not be violated by Indian intelligence agencies and law enforcement. This is more so when they are practically governed by no law in India and have indulged in such acts in the past.

In a welcome move the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last week presented a new set of institutional and policy practices for intelligence agencies that it said would help to improve accountability and protection of human rights in intelligence policy. It seems the entire world is moving in the direction of protection of civil liberties and India is deliberately engaging in activities that are clearly Unconstitutional and illegal.

When Mr. Nandan Nilekani joined the Aadhar Project of India, I was very happy to know that at least we have a person of character and strength who can actually accomplish the task assigned to him. I was also optimistic that he would take care of the Civil Liberties issues as well. Although he has promised civil liberties protection but he has not yet delivered any protection for the same. I hope he would not fail India and join the breed of our incompetent politicians and bureaucrats.

Mr. Nandan where is the law you promised to formulate or have been promising to formulate for months? You are more known to us by your deeds than by your words and you must leave the promise or noise culture for our politicians and bureaucrats.