Why am I against #Aadhaar?

I am a convert.

I once believed Aadhaar can be a tool for empowerment and inclusion. After all, I am from tech industry. I have spent almost all my career evangelizing technology. I have spent hours and days and weeks trying to convince my clients why technology (our technology) is good for them. When I read in newspapers that Nandan Nilekani has left his cushy job at Infosys (I belong to a generation that grew up admiring Infy) to join government to build this digital identity infrastructure, I was all excited. Later, a couple of my friends (from other companies) took a sabbatical to volunteer for the project. I genuinely felt happy for them, and heard their stories with my mouth open.

That was then.

Things changed when I started getting a better grasp of politics. And over years, as I looked at the evolution of the project, it became clear to me that it’s not good for the country.

No, it has nothing to do with technology.

It has to do with the government. If you give technology — a technology that is as pervasive and as powerful as a biometric identification system — in the hands of the government, it is going to use the technology for surveillance in the name of national security, peace and what not.

And as its attention turns towards surveillance the original purpose of the technology will be lost. And the technology itself will become a tool for exclusion.

There is evidence that this is happening. And that’s why I oppose Aadhaar. And that’s why I will urge you also to oppose Aadhaar.

Over the next several posts, I will share details on how you can contribute too.

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