ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Right to Privacy and RTI Act

Against the backdrop of Justice K S Puttaswamy (Retd) and Anr v Union of India and Ors in which the nine judges declared unanimously that the state cannot abuse its power to search, tap phones and knock the doors at midnight without any legally prescribed reasonable procedure and justification, this article argues that the state has to put machinery and authority in place to secure the right to privacy.

Accessing the Right to Food in Delhi

The renewed Public Distribution System (PDS) under the “rights-based” National Food Security Act, 2013 has increased access to foodgrains in Delhi. However, the Aadhaar-enabled PDS has created new barriers and glitches undermining the promise of efficient, error-free, and transparent service-delivery.

Role of ‘Fintech’ in Financial Inclusion and New Business Models

The convergence of finance and technology to provide financial services by non-financial institutions, popularly known as “fintech,” has come to dominate the financial landscape. Taking stock of this development, its impact and implications for new products, processes and services, including for financial inclusion are examined. The Jan Dhan–Aadhaar–mobile phones trinity provides fertile ground for fintech to permeate to the “last mile.” Notwithstanding its manifold benefits, there is a need to exercise caution in areas such as privacy and ownership of data. In a fast-paced world of rapidly evolving technology and related financial services, regulators have new paradigms to grapple with and therefore, need to be proactive so as to not stifle the growth of this nascent sector.

Well done ABBA?

The Aadhaar-based Biometric Authentication system was introduced in all Public Distribution System outlets in Hyderabad between February and March 2016. A survey of 80 households (284 persons) in November finds that despite the introduction of technology-intensive authentication and payment systems, a significant number of those vulnerable and dependent on PDS for food grains are failing to realise their right to food. It is alarming that these sophisticated systems fail even in locations where connectivity and technical know-how are relatively advanced.

Questioning the “Phenomenal Success” of Aadhaar-linked Direct Benefit Transfers for LPG

The Aadhaar-linked Direct Benefit Transfer scheme for reducing leakages in Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) subsidies has been widely advertised as a phenomenal success and has been used to promote Aadhaar and DBT in other spheres by prominent government officials. However, analyses of various studies and data shows that the government’s tall claims of savings cannot be confirmed and leaves much to be questioned.

Overlooking the UIDAI Process

A response to the rebuttal by Hans Mathews and Pranesh Prakash to UIDAI's "Erring on Aadhaar" (EPW, 12 March 2016)

Glaring Errors in UIDAI's Rebuttal

The article questions Unique Identification Authority of India’s response, which found “serious mathematical errors” in “Flaws in the UIDAI Process” (EPW,12 March 2016).

Request for Specifics: Rebuttal to UIDAI

Responding to the Unique Identification Authority of India’s article that found “serious mathematical errors” in “Flaws in the UIDAI Process” (EPW 12 March 2016), the main mathematical argument used to arrive at the number of duplicates in the biometric database is explained.

A Small Battle for FBI, a Gigantic War for Privacy Rights

An exploration of the evolving contours of the right to privacy by sketching the trajectory of the saga between Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. By refusing to comply with the FBI's request to create a backdoor into the iPhone, Apple has taken a robust stance that could influence the actions of many other tech firms worldwide. While Apple's stand marks a victory for the privacy lobby, judicial intervention defining this right can facilitate its crystallisation and harmonious coexistence with other objectives such as national security.

Flaws in the UIDAI Process

The accuracy of biometric identification depends on the chance of a false positive: the probability that the identifiers of two persons will match. Individuals whose identifiers match might be termed duplicands. When very many people are to be identified success can be measured by the (low) proportion of duplicands. The Government of India is engaged upon biometrically identifying the entire population of India. An experiment performed at an early stage of the programme has allowed us to estimate the chance of a false positive: and from that to estimate the proportion of duplicands. For the current population of 1.2 billion the expected proportion of duplicands is 1/121, a ratio which is far too high.
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