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Experts debate on UID and rights

by Radha Rao last modified Apr 02, 2011 12:32 PM
Bangalore, Apr 16, DHNS: A debate on ‘UID and Fundamental Rights’ organised by several city-based organisations, discussed the social, ethical issues, economic and legal issues that accompanies the UID.

Noted law researcher Usha Ramanathan said that according to available information, UID would tap into National Population Registry and gather data and biometrics of the whole population. “UID by itself would not result in profiling, but will act as a bridge between silos of information that will help profile the individual,” she noted.

She also said that lack of answers for issues that were raised six months ago were disturbing. “It is not just about privacy, but the power of the state as the UID will be feeding off many registers,” she added.

Speaking on the economics side of it, R Ramkumar from the Tata Institute for Social Sciences, Mumbai, said claims of financial inclusion or elimination of  corruption in Public Distribution System and the rural employment guarantee scheme was not enough justification. “Service delivery cannot justify the violation of freedom. It is a misplaced emphasis on benefits of technology,” he remarked.

He criticised the government’s thinking that technology could substitute social transformation, commenting that technology could only aid social development in the presence of conducive circumstances and it would be erroneous to assume a linear relationship between development of technology and development of society.

Col Thomas Mathews of the Citizens Action Forum said that UID could not prevent corruption as technology has to be used by people and new ways would be devised to deprive deserving people of the services.

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