The City Police Commissionerate's Integrated Information Hub which plans to collect user data from various sources will leave citizen data open to abuse.
Something strange and worrisome is happening in Hyderabad. The Hyderabad City Police Commissionerate wants to collect records of every resident, regardless of whether or not the person is a suspect of any crime. And it doesn’t end there. They want to collect very specific details including phone numbers, relationships, voter identification numbers and Aadhaar numbers.
Almost like how the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US used the “collect it all” approach to surveillance. We found that out only when Edward Snowden leaked top secret NSA files.
The profile data collected will include the individual’s name, their father’s, mother’s and spouses names, date of birth, mobile number and contact number, apart from driving license, voter identification, Aadhaar, FIR numbers and case diaries
Quote from the tender: “The system should have the ability to make request to the external databases on the basis of data fields (e.g. Aadhaar, Driving License No) and capture the response from the external database sources.”
The tender document makes it clear that the Aadhaar number, along with other identifiers like passport number and voter ID, form what they call “unique identifiers” to match the external sources. Given the biggest unique identifier in India is Aadhaar, it is going to be used primarily for matching the external data sources.
What makes the IIH move unique is the ability to aggregate the data from different sources on the basis of unique identity
While the intent of the system seems to be effective policing, it’s not just criminals or suspects that the IIH is trying to profile. It profiles everyone.
But, just like in the real world government representatives are not allowed to enter our houses and collect items without a warrant, they shouldn’t be allowed collect data on us either. Because, just like in the real world, there is a good chance it will get abused.
While the intent of the system seems to be effective policing, it’s not just criminals or suspects that the IIH is trying to profile. It profiles everyone
Aadhaar has become so big that it’s almost impossible to scrap it. It’s time that we ask for a full-fledged and widely discussed Aadhaar Bill instead of a half-baked money bill to evade Supreme Court ruling and reveal user data in the name of national security. We need to start working on the bill that is focused on protecting the overall user data not just within UIDAI but also the ones linked using it as it’s more obvious than ever that Aadhaar will be used as a surveillance primary key.