Aadhaar: Govt will not compromise on national security

by Prasad Krishna last modified Mar 22, 2016 03:51 PM
The government is confident that the Aadhaar Bill will be passed.

The article by Shreeja Sen was published by Livemint on March 9, 2016. Pranesh Prakash gave inputs.

In what could raise concerns of privacy activists questioning India’s unique identification project Aadhaar, the government on Tuesday said national security will not be compromised at all.

“We will not compromise on national security; certainly we will not compromise. The Supreme Court has already highlighted certain areas for consideration. We are going ahead taking into consideration all the suggestions of the Supreme Court,” law minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda said at a press conference, when asked how the Aadhaar bill tabled in Parliament last week will balance the protection of core biometrics and national security concerns.

Under the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, there are measures to protect core biometric information like fingerprints and iris scans of the unique identification number holders.

However, Section 33 says for the purposes of national security, officials at the joint secretary level and above can access this information. The section has caused some worry to experts. In this analysis , policy director of the Centre for Internet and Society Pranesh Prakash says that the national security clause is worrisome. Adding to their concerns, the bill does not define what national security means.

The government is, however, confident that the bill will be passed. “Certainly it will be passed. The benefits that go from the exchequer to the beneficiaries will be taken care of by this bill,” Gowda said.