Last year ended with a startling policy change as the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill was passed in both houses of Parliament. The Aadhaar database was linked with the Election Commission database to remove duplicates and fake entries from electoral rolls. Such a move can improve the sanctity of the electoral rolls and strengthen the functioning of democracy. But for it to do that, two prominent concerns need to be addressed first.
In a note for the Data Governance Network, in January 2021, we argued that linking the two databases has more negatives than positives. A year later, our key critique stands: we need to strengthen laws that protect the rights of individuals before passing this measure. Aadhaar has shown much promise but equally, it has been dangerous. Linkage should have been done after two conditions were met. Since the amendment has been passed, the government can reduce the fallout by addressing the following concerns.
First, India needs a data protection bill regulating the use and sharing of personal data between citizens and the government, and between government agencies. We lack a framework for safeguarding individual rights, which is worrying for multiple reasons. There have been examples of targeted surveillance using Aadhaar information and
— source thewire.in | Vibhav Mariwala, Prakhar Misra | 27/Jan/2022