Aadhaar: Indian for sale! A tool of suppression in ruling hands!

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Digitial Economy

Aadhaar: Commodification of our personal information! Cell phones snooping on you!

Implementation of Aadhaar project faced objections from many quarters. In order to dilute the increasing protests Supreme Court on its part ordered that Aadhaar is not mandatory for accessing welfare programs. Without complying with this order, the state (central government) started insisting Aadhaar for gas cylinder subsidy and subsidised food grains from PDS. This forced people to scamper for Aadhaar cards.

aadhaar-queueWhat is the reason for giving identity cards and creating a situation where no citizen can exist without it? Why did they spend thousands of crores on this project? Why are they preaching “One Card, All Benefits”? If Aadhaar card is only for subsidies and welfare programs, why do they collect personal details and bio-metric identification like iris pattern and thump impression? Why do they insist Aadhaar even for new-born babies?

Chairman of Aadhaar project Nandan Nilakeni and the richest Indian capitalist Mukesh Ambani say with one voice that Aadhaar is a wonderful tool to deliver state welfare services directly to the poor. In addition, Nilakeni says that if a doctor can get the medical history, lab results, health insurance details of his patients within a minute it would be a great achievement, that the education department can identify eligible students to give scholarship directly thereby avoiding scholarship money going to ineligible students and that all these can be done with Aadhaar.

But the true face of Aadhaar is different. How this card is created? A unique number is assigned to the private data of each individual and other data like cell phone number and email are added to it. By linking this unique id with data collected elsewhere, all information about the individual like their income, loans and deposits, medical history, caste, religion, personal taste, political outlook, family details, hobbies, social and political activities, history of protests, etc can be accessed in a jiffy. Based on this information, a citizen can be put under surveillance.

We have historical precedence as to what can such state surveillance lead to. In Germany of 1930s, Hitler’s Nazis and IBM jointly created an identity card project called DEHOMAG, which helped to segregate Jews, communists, democratic forces, non Germans, all those opposed to or disliked by the Nazi government. They were sent to concentration camps and eventual death. This is Hitler’s answer to those who trust that their data is safe with the state.

To those who argue that such a thing cannot happen in ‘democratic’ India, Hitler’s history proves them wrong again. Hitler was also democratically elected in elections just like Modi. The same Capitalism that created Hitler created Modi. Don’t they remember that it is under Modi’s rule in Gujarat, the state and RSS hunted down Muslims with electoral rolls in their hands?

The company authorized by the government to implement Aadhaar project had entered into an agreement with MongoDb to maintain Aadhaar database. MongoDb was created and controlled by US intelligence agency CIA. Already, CIA keeps our houses, streets, workplaces, in short, all our movements under surveillance with the help of Google Earth. Aadhaar is an important addition to its surveillance activities. Already a mastermind of terrorism in countries opposed to US, CIA can get Aadhaar details through MongoDb and use it for any purpose. It need not even ask the Indian government, not that Modi will refuse when asked.

Is the government doing all this only for repression and surveillance? Behind each action of the state, there lies hidden the interest of ruling class. The commercial interests of multinationals and Indian corporates are hidden behind Aadhaar. In today’s globalized world, data has become a commodity worth thousands of crores. In this era of cut-throat commercial competition, this private data has become an important tool in the hands of multinational companies. Currently all these data are scattered in different databases. By compelling the use of Aadhaar number for all services like gas cylinder, health insurance, etc, the government is acting as a collection agent for corporates. The SMS you send, information you post in social media, programs you watch on TV, movies you see, medicines you take, doctors you consult and so on will be collated based on your Aadhaar number. Corporates are ready to buy this data giving access to wealth of information about individuals and families. As of now corporate hands reaches even to small villages. With Aadhaar they can enter each and every home and thrust their influence on to the face of every person.

Aadhaar number does not confine itself to the private data theft. In addition, it will render us all into laboratory guinea pigs for multinational pharmaceutical companies. It gives them free access to all the medical details of Indian people. These companies already have the record of using African people as guinea pigs to test their products. These pharmaceutical companies will decide which medicine to test, on whom to test and where to test. From Kashmir to Kanniyakumar the whole country will be their laboratory. Armed with these data, they can knock on your door tomorrow, scare you about diseases you may contract and offer drugs for free (that is to conduct clinical trials). With the help of Aadhaar even this is possible.

In the globalized world, India with more than a billion customers is an alluring market for multinationals. Particularly as consumer goods market keeps expanding, having personal information about individuals make it easy to sell products to them.

You may get an SMS from Johnson & Johnson congratulating you on becoming a father and persuading you to use their baby products. Even a news like “your wife is pregnant” might come to you from these marketers. The lab report confirming this will be made to reach corporate computers well before it reaches you (or your wife). What is more? When the whole information is for sale, will they sell it only to the honest?

Marketing madness on one side, surveillance terror on the other side. Once the whole country is put under surveillance, your slightest murmur against ruling interests will face police lathis. Aadhaar is a mechanism that is going to establish a fascist rule which will subject the citizens of our country to surveillance of hitherto unheard of severity.

– Raja

original in Tamil – ஆதார் – விற்பனைப் பொருளாகும் இந்தியன்

translated from – புதிய தொழிலாளி, செப்டம்பர் 2016

translated by – Nesan

Series NavigationOnline theft: Capitalism’s illegitimate child >>

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