Fake ration cards or faulty Aadhaar data?

“Why am I not getting my rice from the ration shop?” Mahammad asked the mandal officials gathered at the government school in Thummala for Janmabhoomi, an interactive gathering in January, organised by the state government.

Mahammad’s name had disappeared from his ration card in Thummala village, while his photo had appeared on a ration card in Kurnool city, over 250 kilometres from his home. “Some names are even showing up in places like Vizag [Visakhapatnam, over 800 kilometres away],” the official replied.

So Pathan Mahammad Ali Khan is being denied his rations since October 2016 – after he linked his Aadhaar number to his ration card. Ali, who is 52 and a vegetable vendor, linked his Aadhaar and ration cards soon after the government of Andhra Pradesh made the linking mandatory. Within a few weeks, his problems began at the public distribution system (PDS) ration outlet in Thummala village of Amadagur mandal in Anantapur district.

Whenever a BPL (below poverty line) ration card-holder like Ali goes to the PDS outlet, the shopkeeper asks for the family’s ration card number and punches it into a small

— source ruralindiaonline.org | Rahul M. | Feb. 26, 2018

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Cyber criminals misusing Aadhaar cards of labourers

Aadhaar cards of Nepalese have been misused by cyber criminals in five to 10 per cent of the cyber frauds in the past two years. Investigations of cyber crime cases revealed that the miscreants used Aadhaar cards of Nepalese and labourers from Bihar and Jharkhand to procure SIMs and create online bank accounts by submitting their (Know Your Client) KYC details which were used to dupe people.

As many as 12,665 cyber complaints were received in the past two years (2020 and 2021) and 320 FIRs were registered.

About 50 per cent of the complaints pertain to financial frauds, 30-35 per cent to social networks and rest are miscellaneous.

In a new trend, fraudsters are targeting hoteliers, shopkeepers and coaching centres. Details of Facebook pages of hotels in Himachal are changed to take advance money from customers making advance bookings.

Cyber criminals are also calling coaching centres, pretending to get admission, and shopkeepers for home delivery of items. They ask for account details on the pretext of

— source tribuneindia.com | Jun 09, 2022

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The Continuing Saga of UIDAI’s Breach of Privacy Rights

The recent advisories by the UIDAI’s regional office and then by its parent body are of concern. UIDAI, which has been functioning without a chairman since 2019, is responsible for managing one of the biggest databases in the world. It has already been revealed by the CAG report that it has failed to maintain the uniqueness of the Aadhaar. The database has unpaired and mismatched biometrics data on its system. It lacks a data archiving policy. The lack of a mechanism to ensure its accountability is another worry.

ON May 27, the regional office of the UIDAI in Bengaluru issued a press release that refrained people from sharing their photocopies of Aadhaar cards with other organisations as they could be “misused”. However, a few days later, the advisory was redacted with immediate effect. These developments came months after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report titled ‘Functioning of UIDAI’ revealed the failure of the UIDAI to maintain the uniqueness of the Aadhaar.

The initial advisory warned people against the use of public computers to download the e-copies of the Aadhaar card. If the e-copies are downloaded, they should be permanently

— source theleaflet.in | Gursimran Kaur Bakshi | Jun 15, 2022

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What you should know about biometric mass surveillance

As an effort to promote privacy and human rights in the EU, we at Greens/EFA got together with a team of international experts to understand where biometric mass surveillance, like facial recognition, is put to use this very moment in different European cities and states.

Keep reading to find out what we learned, and why must take action to ban the use of these technologies now – before it is too late.
Bye bye privacy – Current practices of biometric mass surveillance in the EU

Biometric mass surveillance wrongfully reports large numbers of innocent citizens systematically discriminates against under-represented groups and has a chilling effect on a free and diverse society.

If not regulated, they have the potential to change our societies fundamentally. This is why we must stop them before it’s too late. More and more people are standing up against the deployment of these technologies. In the United States, lawmakers have already started to impose bans on the use of some of the most invasive forms of algorithmic decision-

— source greens-efa.eu | 2022

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When the man knows you, the machine doesn’t

The lane to her house is an upward slope, one which Aadhilakshmi, 72, finds hard to climb after a leg surgery last year. The home in a slum colony in Bhavani Nagar, in the Suddagunte Palya area of south Bengaluru, is a single room that she shares with six other family members.

Aadhilakshmi and her husband Kunnaiah Ram, 83, migrated to Bengaluru around 30 years ago from a village in Madurai district, Tamil Nadu, in search of work. While he found a job as a carpenter, she raised their two sons and two daughters.

“Just because I am old does that mean I do not need to eat?” she asks. It’s a question she has repeated an unfortunate number of times in the last six months when she and her husband were denied their rations – seven kilos of free rice per person per month. The subsidised salt, sugar, palm oil and soap they got in addition to the rice, for which they had to pay Rs. 150, has also stopped.

Why was the elderly couple denied their rations? For both, fingerprint authentication failed at the PDS outlet

— source ruralindiaonline.org | Vishaka George | May 1, 2022

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What CAG Audit Report Says About Aadhaar Regime

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pulled up the government body behind the issuing of Aadhaar numbers over a range of issues that have dominated the mainstream debate around India’s unique identification programme.

In its first ever performance audit of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the CAG has flagged problems with its de-duplication process and how flaws in the biometric capture process led to hundreds of thousands of people paying a fee to update their biometrics.

The audit report – which examined the UIDAI’s functioning between 2014-15 to 2018-19 – also red-flags the issuance of Aadhaar numbers to minor children below the age of five based on details given by their parents, calling it a step that goes against the “basic tenet of the Aadhaar Act”.

Here are the national auditor’s major findings:

1) No documents for proof of residency?

In India, Aadhaar numbers are only issued to individuals who have resided for a period of 182 days or more in the 12 months before the date of application. The problem with this,

— source thewire.in | Anuj Srivas | 07/Apr/2022

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Aadhaar Link Threatens Sanctity of Electoral Rolls

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

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Supreme Court doubts correctness of Aadhaar judgement, refers it to a larger bench

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday raised doubts over the correctness of the Aadhaar judgement delivered last year and has referred the validity of the law being passed as a money bill to a larger seven-judge bench, Bar and Bench reported. The top court held this while referring the passage of Finance Act 2017 as money bill to a larger bench earlier in the day.

The court on Wednesday said the Aadhaar judgement did not elucidate and explain the scope and ambit of sub-clauses (a) to (f) to clause (1) of Article 110 of the Constitution. Article 110(1) grants the Lok Sabha Speaker the authority to certify a draft law as a money bill as long as the legislation dealt only with all or any of the matters specifically listed in the provision.

Justice DY Chandrachud, who was part of the five-judge bench led by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, had said in September 2018 it was a “subterfuge” and a “fraud on the constitution”.

— source scroll.in | Nov 13, 2019

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Should electoral ID data be linked to Aadhaar?

The issue of linking India’s voters’ list with the Aadhaar database is in news again with the surreptitious passage of The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in Parliament recently. The fact that it was passed hurriedly with hardly any discussion is enough to raise suspicion. But there is more to it, and part of that is contained in the history of this idea.

That history began March 3, 2015: The Election Commission of India (ECI) launched “a comprehensive programme” — the National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP) — “with the prime objective of bringing a totally error-free and authenticated electoral roll”.

One of the stated objectives of the NERPAP was linking EPIC (Electoral Photo Identity Card) data with the Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI) Aadhaar data with the laudable objective of authenticating the EPIC data.

The ECI took up this programme with a lot of enthusiasm. By August 2015, when the Supreme Court ordered a ban on this linking, 320 million voters had already been linked to their

— source downtoearth.org.in | Jagdeep S Chhokar | 15 Jan 2022

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Ration racket: 1,100 fingerprint casts found

In their investigation into stealing of food grains from the public distribution system by fair price shop owners, the cybercrime cell of Ahmedabad police has found more than 1,100 casts of beneficiary fingerprints made on some silicone-like material. The modus operandi used by the racketeers is shocking as a fingerprint cast can be used to endorse any document, open locked apps and mobile phones and bypass bio-metric barriers that depend solely on fingerprints.

In pursuit of the trail they have been following since December 2019, police have till date arrested 40 persons, with the last six arrested since Monday, January 3, said Rajdeepsinh Zala, DCP, cybercell. The mastermind behind the racket, Bharat Chaudhary of Banaskantha, had been arrested last December.

Sources said Chaudhary and his gang held soft copies and associated data of nearly 2,500 fingerprints.

Corrupted fair price shop owners used to provide the fingerprints and data to Chaudhary, who used to take Rs 1,000 to prepare each fingerprint cast from scans. The fingerprint casts were then used to imprint fingerprints of poor people and siphon off their ration from the public distribution system. The food grains and other material were then sold in

— source timesofindia.indiatimes.com | Sarfaraz Shaikh | Feb 6, 2020

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