UIDAI introduces two-layer security system post reports of Aadhar breach

Days after a report by Tribune claimed a data breach in the Aadhaar database, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) introduced a 2-level safety net.

a.)     By creating a Virtual ID

b.)    Limiting Know Your Customer (KYC) – for the 12-digit biometric code.

ET Now reported, the two moves will cover Aadhaar users from any further breach.

How does this work?

The virtual ID will replace your Aadhaar number at the time of authentication. The ID will be a 16-digit, randomly-generated number, that will be used for authentication instead of your Aadhaar number. No one will be able to locate your Aadhaar based on this ID.

All agencies will shift to the new system by June 1.

Limited KYC access will provide agency-specific UID to do away with agencies from storing your Aadhaar number. The agencies will now build their own KYC database without depending on your Aadhaar. They will identify users with tokens.

The move comes a day after an RBI-backed research note pointed out some serious fears about Aadhaar. A study by a think tank associated with the RBI said Aadhaar in its current form is sitting duck for cyber criminals.

Aadhaar faces several challenges in the near future. The primary task is to protect the data from snooping and disproportionate revenue seeking excess of the business world. It is well-known that businesses are gradually operating in a highly competitive world in which ethical borders are rapidly being pulled down. The problem is compounded because they must satisfy their shareholders in a competitive business environment that rarely looks beyond the quarterly profits and the operational dynamics of stock market listing, a note by Reserve Bank claimed.

However, the note said, cyber weaknesses of Aadhaar are a bigger concern than the possible commercial misuse of data.

m-Aadhar a prescribed ID proof- Rail Ministry

A sigh of relief came for people travelling through trains when the railway ministry on Wednesday declared to permit m-Aadhaar that is, Aadhaar card on mobile applications, as one of the proposed proofs of identity for travellers in any reserved class.

An official release quoted, “m-Aadhaar when shown by the passenger on his/her mobile after entering the password should be accepted as proof of identity for undertaking a journey in any reserved class over Indian Railways.

m-Aadhaar is an application launched by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Using this application on their mobile phone, a person can download his/her Aadhaar card. This process can be done on the mobile number linked to a person’s Aadhar card. After which, the traveller can open the application and enter his/her password to show this identity proof, reported ANI.

This application and its process will help a person secure their private information and travel with ease without the fear of losing their Aadhaar card which has become an important identity proof currently.

News Source: Business Standard, ANI

Image Source: India.com

Justice Dipak Misra becomes 45th Chief Justice of India

Justice Dipak Misra succeeded Justice J.S Khehar as the 45th Chief Justice of India. Justice Misra, who headed the Supreme Court bench that gave capital punishment to four convicts in May this year in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case, took oath on Monday in a short ceremony in the Darbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The oath of office was administered to Justice Misra in the presence of President Ram Nath Kovind. He will hold office till October 2, 2018, that is roughly for the next 14 months.

According to the ongoing practice, Justice Khehar had suggested Justice Misra’s name for the next CJI last month. But with his retirement, the Aadhar Constitution bench has to sacrifice its lead judge. It will now either be headed by Justice Misra or he will make Justice Chelameswar the leading judge of the bench.

Justice Misra was also part of the historic bench that heard terrorist Yakub Memon’s last minute plea against his death sentence in July 2015. Memon was one of the primary accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts which took the lives of 257 people. It was Justice Misra who read out the Court’s decision at 5 A.M.

Justice Misra has been given the tag of a “pro-citizen judge” by his peers. He was the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court before being appointed as a Supreme Court judge in 2011.

Sourced from NDTV and The Hindu

Congress invites Right to Privacy decision, says Center’s endeavor to control privacy stands rejected

The choice to offer ideal protection a status of being a central right is notable. This is the primary such important choice taken in light of a legitimate concern for the privileges of a person The Congress welcomes this verdict. Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said, “we welcome this decision as this is the biggest decision on freedom of an individual”.

Tending to the media after the pinnacle court’s decision, Congress pioneer and previous union minister P.Chidambaram said today we can once again celebrate our freedom as this verdict is a setback to the government.

The Supreme Court today overruled the M.P. Sharma (1962) and Kharak Singh (1954) judgment and held that the Right to Privacy is a major directly under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, in a consistent choice (of the nine-judge seat).

The decision was given when the nine-judge Constitution seat of the pinnacle court continued the hearing looking into the issue on thursday morning. Following this, a five-judge sacred seat will choose whether the Aadhar damages the Right to Privacy or not. The Supreme Court, earlier on August 2, had reserved its judgment over the issue of whether right to privacy is fundamental or not.

Sources- HT, Firstpost

Aadhar Data leaked, software engineer accused

Our Aadhar details are promised to be kept secured with the government of India. After numerous breeches and data leaks, yet again a software development engineer working in Ola’s head office at Koramangala was arrested on account of misusing Aadhar data obtained without authentication.

A complaint was filed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) against Abhinav Srivastav (31), an IIT Kharagpur graduate who is accused of hacking into the data repository of UIDAI, gaining access through the e-hospital server, an initiative by the Government of India.

The complaint to the police was made on 26th July, which stated that Srivastav had accessed the data without authorization between January 1  and July 26 via an app called ‘eKYC Verification’.

The app is developed by an entity linked to a start-up Quarth Technologies, which is acquired by taxi service giant Ola. The app provided demographic details to users, it had 50,000 downloads. Srivastav had already earned Rs. 40,000 through advertisements.

After hacking into the server, he used it to send verification requests to the UIDAI database for his own app. The UIDAI system allowed access under the impression that the authentication requests were from the e-hospital system hence not unauthorized,’’ a police source said. Investigations proceed to confirm if the app he developed was used in any form by Ola.

The e-hospital app, hosted on the cloud services of NIC, facilitates online appointments at hospitals using eKYC data of Aadhaar number, if patient’s mobile number is registered with UIDAI, if not it uses the patient’s name. Srivastava’s eKYC Verification app mimicked the e-hospital app in accessing the identity authentication services of UIDAI.



Right to Privacy: An unenumerated right or an absolute right?

A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court which was setup to look into the issue of Aadhar Card and it’s infringement into Right to Privacy said that Privacy is not an absolute right.

Justice Chelameswar called the term privacy an ‘amorphous’ term, while Justice Chandrachud, another member of the 9 member bench, mentioned that we need to know the ‘contours’, ‘contents’ and ‘obligations’ under the definition of privacy, to the petitioners.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, who was representing the Centre, said that there was a reason why the Constitution makers did “consciously avoid” putting Right to Privacy under the Constitution.

The petitioners represented by senior lawyers Gopal Subramanium, Soli Sorabjee, Shyam Divan and Arvind Datar, said that Right to Privacy can be derived from Article 21 i.e. Right to Liberty.

Lawyer Sorabjee even compared Privacy with Freedom of Press saying that Freedom of Press has also been derived as an unenumerated right under Article 19 (1) i.e. Right to Freedom of Expression. As many as 30 rights have been taken from existing rights as unenumerated rights, as reported by Scroll.

The court would also be hearing the petitioners on Thursday, July 20, 2017 before reserving their judgement.

News Sources- The Hindu, NDTV 

Union Budget and the many U-turns of the Modi government

The Union Budget came as a real surprise to the 125 crore people who were ‘testing’ the Modi government.  The budget, presented by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, exposes the many U-turns taken by the Narendra Modi Government in terms of its policies and ideologies.

One of the most striking contrasts is the shift from a pro-corporates budget in 2015 to a pro-poor budget in 2016. While India Inc lauded Jaitely for announcing a 5 per cent reduction in corporate tax over four years in 2015, the same India Inc was unhappy with the minister for the inaction on the corporate tax front. FICCI( Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) President Harshvardhan Neotia expressed his dissatisfaction and said, “ Corporate tax reduction was something that we were looking at… going forward, we expect some clarity on how the exemptions will be eased out.”

The budget has given a great push to the agricultural and rural sectors- two of the nine pillars of Jaitley’s budget. And this move has given the critics enough reasons to call it a ‘political budget’. The election results of Bihar and Mission Uttar Pradesh 2017 could be the possible reasons for this policy reversal. The BJP has learnt its lesson- Rural India is a bigger vote bank than a handful of rich corporates.

Another reason that can substantiate the above mentioned statement is the fund allocation for the MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act ) scheme, a brainchild of the UPA government. The Modi government in 2014 had talked about diluting the scheme and this decision drew a lot of flak, especially from opposition parties and celebrated economists. While speaking at a function organised to mark the completion of 10 years of the MNREGA scheme, Jaitley had dismissed all doubts surrounding the fate of the scheme and said that the BJP has transformed the scheme, which was in a pitiable condition during the UPA regime. A highest ever allocation of Rs 38,500 crores for the scheme proves Jaitley’s claims and it could help the BJP win brownie points in the upcoming elections. As a matter of fact, MNREGA was one of the main reasons for the popularity of UPA I regime and its re-election in 2009.

The government’s stand on Aadhar card is another notable U-turn. According to the budget, the Aadhar card will now get a statutory backing. While in opposition, the BJP had called the Aadhar card programme as a “fraud” perpetrated on the people of the country and had promised to review it, if voted to power. The same BJP government, probably after “reviewing” the programme, has now suggested ways to strengthen and popularize the use of Aadhar cards. A programme which was considered as a “dangerous programme to regularize the illegal stay of migrants in the country”, will now be used to identify the subsidy beneficiaries.

Among the many noteworthy things mentioned in the budget, one of the interesting aspects is how life changes from Opposition to Government.


Sources: The HinduZee NewsThe Times of India