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India To Put All Citizen Info In a Central Database 132

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
Oracle Goddess writes "As part of a project to issue ID cards for all 1.1 billion of its citizens, India has announced plans to place information on every single citizen in what will be the world's second largest citizens' database. The government believes the scheme will aid the delivery of vital social services to the poorest people who often lack sufficient identification papers. It also sees the scheme as a way to tackle increasing amounts of identity fraud and theft, and, at a time of increased concern over the threat of militant violence, to boost national security and help police and law officials. 'This could be used as a security measure by the government which leaves migrant workers, refugees and other stateless people in India in limbo, without access to public services, employment and basic welfare,' said Charu Lata Hogg, an associate fellow of the Asia program at Chatham House."
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India To Put All Citizen Info In a Central Database

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  • by MarkusQ (450076) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @11:01AM (#28504343) Journal

    When I read "Your Rights Online: India To Put All Citizen Info In a Central Database" I was horrified, But then I read further and realized that, while bad, it wasn't nearly as bad as the headline makes it sound.

    Turns out they're only planning on putting some data about the citizens in the database. But it looks like people will still be allowed to keep their own grocery lists and address books etc. and manage them however they wish.

    For now at least.

    --MarkusQ

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by causality (777677)

      When I read "Your Rights Online: India To Put All Citizen Info In a Central Database" I was horrified, But then I read further and realized that, while bad, it wasn't nearly as bad as the headline makes it sound.

      Turns out they're only planning on putting some data about the citizens in the database. But it looks like people will still be allowed to keep their own grocery lists and address books etc. and manage them however they wish.

      For now at least.

      --MarkusQ

      I had a boss at work who once explained this to me. He got a little piece of paper and a pen and wrote it out something like this:

      Assume. You shouldn't assume because it makes an ass out of 'U' and me.

      The man had a sense of humor.

      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by guile*fr (515485)

        or the man had read or seen the silence of the lambs

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Alarindris (1253418)

        You shouldn't assume because it makes an ass out of 'U' and me.

        No. Assuming makes and assu out of me.

        • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

          by Qzukk (229616)

          Assuming makes an ass out of you and... well, just you, actually. I don't see how I'm involved at all.

      • I don't normally reply to myself but something could be added to this:

        The man had a sense of humor.

        ... and the mods don't. Apparently I didn't have enough repetitive Slashdot memes in there or something.


        In Soviet Russia, you inaccurately offtopic the mods!

        Natalie Portman and hot grits would have found the humor in that!

        A steaming mug of frosty piss would remove some of that uptightness.

        Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those [jokes] ...

        I for one welcome our humorless Pharisee moderator overlord

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tnnn (1035022)
      "Entrepreneur, Nandan Nilekani has been chosen to lead the ambitious project which will be the second largest citizens' database in a democracy, with China being the biggest."

      I wonder if they are implying that China is a democracy or just saying that they have the biggest database...
      • > I wonder if they are implying that China is a democracy or just saying that they have the biggest database...

        It entirely depends on how one defines democracy. It just so happens that democracy in China means you can only vote people on the ballot, and people on the ballot must be Communist party members.

        Just like in the US, where privacy has been redefined to permit form NSL's by the FBI.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Tony Hoyle (11698)

          I think Wal-Mart have a pretty big database about most citizens in the US. I remember reading they're not even the biggest. The credit reference agencies probably have data on most citizens in the western world.

          Most governments have databases about their citizens.. Where do you think social security numbers come from?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Warlord88 (1065794)
      I have no idea what is the project cost. But I really wish the government would spend the money on development of infrastructure. When the capital faces up to ten hours of power cuts per day [bbc.co.uk], you can imagine the state of rest of the country. More often than not, such large scale projects are a way for government officials to accept huge bribes. Corruption is rampant in India and I doubt that the project is undertaken for the 'common good'. It sounds good for developed nations, not for India which is still
    • by Tolkien (664315)
      My first reaction upon reading the summary title: Huzzah, we can finally strike back at those 419ers!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you think REALID is dead it will live again as healthpass or some other nicely named system, but bet univeral healthcare will be the excuse used.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by panthroman (1415081)

      Is it possible to have national taxes/benefits without a federal database? Drivers' licenses are issued by state, and each state has a database of its licensees. Federal income tax is federal, and there's a federal ID for it (SSN).

      Slashdot readers, little help? If universal healthcare were implemented in the US, wouldn't we need a federal database for it?

      • by clang_jangle (975789) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @11:23AM (#28504549) Journal
        You're already in several federal databases, plus who knows how many databases owned by multinational corportaions. The time to panic has long passed, and apparently you slept through it.
      • Why? The gov't already has you on file with the IRS and the Social Security Office or else you wouldn't be getting a paycheck (or paying taxes). Although I know the gov't is a big fan of creating new and unusually named Departments to handle each new bit of administrative work, it would make sense to put any new divisions under the auspices of the SS office, since universal healthcare would be a matter of social welfare. So all you'd need is your SSN, ideally. Of course they'll probably require extensive me
        • by causality (777677)

          t would make sense to put any new divisions under the auspices of the SS office

          How incredibly appropriate. Their uniform will consist of brown shirts, perhaps with pantlegs tucked into their boots.

          • I abbreviated it that way for a reason ;)
          • Their uniform will consist of brown shirts, perhaps with pantlegs tucked into their boots.

            I was told that this time it would be business casual. Focus groups have shown that there's much less resistance when smiling groups of multi-racial "associates" wearing Dockers and polo shirts kick in your door at four in the morning.

  • Progress. (Score:4, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @11:09AM (#28504423)

    Hey dammit, we had the idea of reducing everyone to a number long before you did, and we're the only ones that should have to suffer with that kind of stupidity. You can steal our jobs, but don't steal our retarded government ideas -- as a patriot, I simply must draw the line there!

    • Re:Progress. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by causality (777677) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @11:14AM (#28504473)

      Hey dammit, we had the idea of reducing everyone to a number long before you did, and we're the only ones that should have to suffer with that kind of stupidity. You can steal our jobs, but don't steal our retarded government ideas -- as a patriot, I simply must draw the line there!

      Yeah. Too bad India's official statements don't add a one-liner to the effect of "When this is abused, please act surprised; your cooperation is appreciated."

  • Sort of like... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 28, 2009 @11:11AM (#28504435)

    Sort of like the IRS? They have how much money you make, where you live, what you own, who you're married to, and who are your kids.

    • by painehope (580569)

      Pardon me? I'd like to bring a few points to your attention.

      Firstly, I spent 4 years of my life (when I was younger) where no one with any kind of legal authority knew where I lived, what I owned, what I drove, et al. I won't go into much more detail than to say that I did have a job, did attend college, and made quite good money from both legal and not so legal methods. But the best that anyone who wanted to find me could hope for was to catch me at class. Which I'm sure some government agencies could h

  • It's not all bad! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 28, 2009 @11:11AM (#28504443)

    India currently has no real way of identifying a person uniquely - other than a passport. Most formal government identification systems are uncontrolled and easily available in exchange for money. So we dont really have a credit system, no social security number etc. One recent change was PAN cards - a tax identification number.

    So this could will help a lot in uniquely identifying a person - especially in a country where there are 28 languages, and where migration of labor has started increasing substantially.

    This is also being led by Nandan Nilekini of Infosys fame.

    [An estimated 100M id cards will be rolled out in 3 years]

    • by l2718 (514756)
      Not having a way of "identifying a person uniquely" means that people can choose their own identity. For law-abiding citizens this is not a bad thing. I'm sure India has private ways for establishing identity similar to the ones that existed in the west for a while -- checkbooks come to mind. For the provision of government benefits, it should be enough for people to register at the government office. For private transactions, most cases involve people with bank accounts, so they have other ways to prove
      • by fbjon (692006)
        Checkbooks? What is this, "backwards technology for a backward nation"?

        Can somebody please explain to me what the problem is with uniquely identifying each member of a society, what abuse becomes realistically possible?

        • by l2718 (514756)
          Currently occuring abuse:
          • Requiring IDs in order to use public transportation (see the US).
          • Requiring IDs in order to use the internet (see Italy).
          • Requiring IDs in order to use a hotel (many countries).
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Sudheer_BV (1049540)

      Go, get a driving license, ration card, voter's ID card in exchange for money if you will. If you can buy any of these identity cards you can definitely buy passport and a PAN card too. It could cost you a bit more, though.

      Few years back, the Government of India started a project to implement social security number system just like in the western countries. They started accepting forms for this ambitious project. Initially, they started offering this form for people holding a PAN card. I haven't heard of

    • by Sulphur (1548251)
      So in 30 years, they would have about enough cards for now. Perhaps this silver bullet would give a clue to my identity.
    • by velen (1198819)

      The PAN card, the ration card and your passport are all unique ids in India. The problem is that pretty much all of them can be duplicated. This national ID card is just to throw in biometrics into the mix. That doesn't do anything to prevent corruption at the database level. I am talking about bribery, lets leave hacking and related crap alone for now.

  • Better than Google (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hessian (467078) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @11:13AM (#28504469) Homepage Journal

    I think it's not terrible that a government have a working list of its citizens, especially if they put vital medical and other data on it. This can save lives and can get us more accurate reporting about how important it is to, say, find a cure for AIDS over a cure for cancer.

    Having an easy way to contact or locate any citizen is also important.

    We're so accustomed in the West to distrust of government that we've lost sight of the basic truth: it matters who you get into government, and how willing they are to fight back corruption (entropy). We can't regulate government into sanity. But we can pick sane people, although mass media democracy isn't so good at that.

    Instead of fighting back at any recordkeeping, we might consider the following:

    • If we distrust government, we are forgetting that there are millions of ways government can wreck us that don't involve "Big Brother" scenarios. Bad wars. Corrupt economics. Allowing toxic waste to be in our groundwater. We don't see these as visibly as "Big Brother" scenarios, so we don't talk about them.
    • Letting Google keep records on who we are may be more destructive. A former friend turns enemy blogs about you? That's what the world will know of you when they Google you. Erroneous articles, conviction by public opinion? Just as corrupt as any corrupt government, but not as visible.

    People like to have something tangible and external to blame. It wasn't my fault; God did it. It wasn't my fault; The 1984 Government did it. Leftists claim government is capitalist and dominated by white men; Rightists claim government is socialist and against white men. It seems every group is projecting its fears outside of itself in order to claim innocence.

    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @11:16AM (#28504489)

      Having an easy way to contact or locate any citizen is also important.

      yes.

      yes it is. [toad.com]

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @11:58AM (#28504905)

      I think it's not terrible that a government have a working list of its citizens, especially if they put vital medical and other data on it.

      Then put it on a fob the citizen can wear around their neck, or clipped to their cell phone or in their pocket in the same place they would keep their ID card. No need to centralize.

      Having an easy way to contact or locate any citizen is also important.

      Then use a phone book and the citizens who don't want to be contacted can get unlisted numbers.

      We're so accustomed in the West to distrust of government that we've lost sight of the basic truth: it matters who you get into government, and how willing they are to fight back corruption (entropy).

      No, it really doesn't. Sooner or later everyone succumbs to the corruption of power. I don't want to have to put all of my trust in individuals - people lie, and politicians are especially good at fooling you. There isn't enough face time or research time in the world for even a significant minority of voters to really become familiar enough with any one politician, never mind all of them, to determine how corrupt they are. I want a system that severely restricts what the government can do, the less they can do the less people they can screw over.

      We don't see these as visibly as "Big Brother" scenarios, so we don't talk about them.

      Just because "big brother" is not the only risk of big government doesn't mean we should ignore it. For sure we worry about all those issues too, its foolish to claim that things like "bad wars" aren't also of significant concern. Especially after Bush's recent reign and the near constant criticism of it from day one.

      Letting Google keep records on who we are may be more destructive.

      Yes, Google is a significant threat too, and requires significant watchdogging. That doesn't mean take the watchdog off the government and set it on google, it means we worry about both.

      Leftists claim government is capitalist and dominated by white men; Rightists claim government is socialist and against white men. It seems every group is projecting its fears outside of itself in order to claim innocence.

      Actually, in your example, it seems like both sides are complaining government is too big and has too much influence over their own lives. I don't think that an argument for further increasing the scope and power of the government would go over so well from either of those simplified viewpoints.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by causality (777677)

      I think it's not terrible that a government have a working list of its citizens, especially if they put vital medical and other data on it. This can save lives and can get us more accurate reporting about how important it is to, say, find a cure for AIDS over a cure for cancer.

      So sell its virtues and then tell everyone where they can sign up. Voluntarily. Make it opt-in only, so anyone who doesn't want this isn't forced to participate. In the case of minor children, let their parents decide.

      You ever

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We're so accustomed in the West to distrust of government that we've lost sight of the basic truth: it matters who you get into government, and how willing they are to fight back corruption (entropy). We can't regulate government into sanity. But we can pick sane people, although mass media democracy isn't so good at that..

      Please don't lump everyone in with the anglos. The rest of the western world doesn't share your extreme paranoia about ID cards. Thanks, a (continental) EU citizen.

    • by seekret (1552571)
      I used to be extremely opposed to a national ID for pretty much exactly what you just said: I distrust the government, I distrust the corporations who control the government. But there are benefits to having a national ID in place, so long as it is, and always remains, voluntary. The day I fear is the day that it is mandated all citizens must carry a national ID under penalty of law. But I think as long as we act resonsibly as citizens and pay attention to what laws and regulations are passed we will be abl
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by Glonoinha (587375)

        Afterall the government can't put into action an elaborate conspiracy against the people if we do our jobs and monitor them, that is kind of the point of a democracy.

        Germany was a democracy in 1933, when Hitler was effectively voted into power. Shortly after he was voted in, a large series of government buildings were set to fire by communists (aka 'terrorists'), allowing him to get passed a decree entitled "For the Protection of the People and the State", suspending the German constitution. It got worse

        • by seekret (1552571)
          Yes, and the point is that if we don't buy into the fear and let our government get away with passing these types of laws we can prevent that from happening again. Look what happened with the Patriot Act Bush put into place after 9/11, we have been fighting it since day one to prevent another incident like the one in Germany.
      • by causality (777677)

        The day I fear is the day that it is mandated all citizens must carry a national ID under penalty of law.

        Anyone who doesn't understand why that day is absolutely inevitable once the systems are in place, should not be allowed to vote or run for office.

        I don't derive any enjoyment from saying such a thing, but whether I enjoy it or not, it's true.

        • by seekret (1552571)
          It's only inevitable if we allow it to happen. What everyone seems to forget is that the government is only as powerful as we let them be. We have the ability, and right as granted by the constitution, to go against any government that stops acting in our best interest. The real problem is when people stop caring and just let it happen. There are positives and negatives to every system, every idea, if we stopped every new technology from being used because of the possibility it could be used against us we w
          • by causality (777677)

            It's only inevitable if we allow it to happen. What everyone seems to forget is that the government is only as powerful as we let them be. We have the ability, and right as granted by the constitution, to go against any government that stops acting in our best interest. The real problem is when people stop caring and just let it happen. There are positives and negatives to every system, every idea, if we stopped every new technology from being used because of the possibility it could be used against us we would have no progress. Instead of fighting against an idea you should fight against the misuse of the ideas, that is what makes a society worth living in.

            The problem is that a single distraction, a single moment of weakness, or even something as simple as a different ideology becoming a brief fad, is enough to get those kinds of laws passed. Once they are passed, they are NOT going to be repealed. Over enough time, there WILL inevitably be such an opening to get something like that passed. If nothing else, just one disaster (natural or otherwise) is often enough to temporarily change the direction the winds are blowing and people will accept things they o

            • by seekret (1552571)
              I will concede to that argument since history has proven time and again that the masses are short sighted and easily persuaded by fear.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hansraj (458504)

      Not all of the west has big qualms about the governments keeping track of people. In Germany, where I have lived for a few years now, everyone has to register their addresses to a central agency, you are obliged to carry a valid id with you at all times, etc. And I don't think there is a big outcry about it among Germans. In fact everyone I have tried to convince that it should not be a requirement and you should be allowed to live off the grid in exchange of foregoing some benefits that such laws create, I

    • If we distrust government, we are forgetting that there are millions of ways government can wreck us that don't involve "Big Brother" scenarios. Bad wars. Corrupt economics. Allowing toxic waste to be in our groundwater. We don't see these as visibly as "Big Brother" scenarios, so we don't talk about them.

      No, we don't talk about those because they actually are happening and unlike the Big Brother thing there's no recourse for us to stop them.

  • Issuing ID cards is an old tactic dating from the colonial period to suppress national security - as in, regular serial bomb attacks [telegraph.co.uk]. Both the British and new local governments used it, either to suppress independence movements, or to suppress communist/breakaway movements post-independence.

    Regular bombings is not something that happens nowadays in the West, obviously. The United States, which is generally free of persistent domestic terrorism, may not have excuses to implement national ID and databases
  • by Gopal.V (532678) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @11:41AM (#28504739) Homepage Journal

    I think I know how this will work out.

    I already have a national ID card which lets me vote, I have a PAN number which tracks literally every economic transaction of significance I make. They know everything about my vehicles and my travel arrangements.

    Now, they're going to pay someone to build a system which correlates all this into some useless information. It'll take six years to build & cost tons of money for the government, half of which will end up being passed under the table as kickbacks and the rest with the contractors. Eventually, the system will be built and works fairly decently, but has no information about anyone who does not really volunteer it first-hand.

    It'll be done, but completely useless. Some people will become rich and ... as the general attitude will be "I want less corruption or more opportunity to participate in it". A complete waste of tax payer's money, but not quite the invasion of my privacy that most people imagine.

    But hell yeah, I'm going to protest. Even their incompetence can't be depended up on :)

    • I think I know how this will work out.

      I already have a national ID card which lets me vote, I have a PAN number which tracks literally every economic transaction of significance I make. They know everything about my vehicles and my travel arrangements.

      Now, they're going to pay someone to build a system which correlates all this into some useless information. It'll take six years to build & cost tons of money for the government, half of which will end up being passed under the table as kickbacks and the rest with the contractors. Eventually, the system will be built and works fairly decently, but has no information about anyone who does not really volunteer it first-hand.

      It'll be done, but completely useless. Some people will become rich and ... as the general attitude will be "I want less corruption or more opportunity to participate in it". A complete waste of tax payer's money, but not quite the invasion of my privacy that most people imagine.

      But hell yeah, I'm going to protest. Even their incompetence can't be depended up on :)

      ++

      I wish I had mod points today.

    • by oxygen_deprived (1127583) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @11:15PM (#28509735)
      You are one of the privileged few who generate enough income to be above the threshold to pay taxes.Not the entire population of India has a PAN number or a ration card or any form of id whatsoever. The central idea of the national id is NOT to track citizens. Its main aim is to counter the major malpractices that thwart the efficacy of public welfare programs, where government provided benefits are usurped fraudulently by intermediate crooks (some of whom are a part of the govt machinery) Its the pessimism of the likes of you that holds us back.The kickbacks and under the table aspects are one of the major reasons why this has been entrusted to Nilekani. Get your facts right. After a long long time we have a government that is trying to sincerely uplift the masses. If you cant support them, at least dont hinder them.
    • My mum told me Nandan Nilekani of Infosys/Jon Stewart fame is the head of the so-called Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). So maybe we can hope for some infusion of private organization/efficiency into this project.

    • by Kream (78601)

      I'm an Indian, long-time /. vet and a lawyer by training.

      India's Constitution has a different method of doing things from the American one; it chooses to emphasise or list Constitutional Rights and there is a "holy trinity" of Fundamental Rights which cannot ever be amended.

      The Constitution is a living document, having been amended 94 times in 59 years, and the coders seem to have settled on a stable codebase in the last few years, with only minor version changes.

      This may shock Americans but there is no con

  • After all the outsourcing we have done there, I'm fairly sure they have all the US citizens info in one database too. Now that they have perfected it, time to pull in their own citizens info.
  • We know that the project will be given to the lowest bidder, so that takes Indian coders out of the picture. So who's gonna code it? Africans?
    • by hyc (241590)

      What's to code? OpenLDAP already supports over 5 billion user records...

  • They will need to hire China to administer it (lower IT costs there).
  • Before I read TFA, I kinda thought Google had the largest "citizens'" database...
  • by lenKite (631339) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @11:58AM (#28504919) Homepage

    As a citizen of India, I whole-heartedly welcome this measure. One of the benefits (amongst many) is that native Indian citizens will not be marginalized by hordes of illegal immigrants who have crossed the borders of our country. That might sound callous, and yes, it indeed is, but the harsh reality is that many regions of our country have had their demographics completely changed by vast, un-checked immigration from Bangladesh and Burma. These immigrants zealously bring their religion with them - the one with the conspicuous lack of family planning or birth control and outdated ideas regarding education and treatment of women. (I assume you can guess which one)

    For a country like India which is already heavily overpopulated with a severe lack of natural resources, such immigration is just breaking the elephant's back. A national identity card system will go a long way to address this severe problem.

    I am aware that Americans strongly believe in individual privacy and are only too eager to shudder and sneer at such measures. Privacy is a valid concern, but the need for privacy is stronger in the West and lesser in the East - one f those strange cultural differences - it simply matters less to us here. And in the hierarchy of needs, the rights of basic citizenship and access to government resources matters more than an individual need for privacy.

    Will the system be fool-proof? Of course not. It will be hacked - I expect it will be hacked both socially (corruption) and through technology and will definitely be misused a number of times for fake identities. The risk of misuse, however, is not a sufficient argument against the very real need for introduction of such an identity system in our country.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by seekret (1552571)

      I am aware that Americans strongly believe in individual privacy and are only too eager to shudder and sneer at such measures. Privacy is a valid concern, but the need for privacy is stronger in the West and lesser in the East - one f those strange cultural differences - it simply matters less to us here. And in the hierarchy of needs, the rights of basic citizenship and access to government resources matters more than an individual need for privacy.

      If you represent the average Indian citizen than you have convinced me that for India this is a good thing. Afterall, if this is something you guys actually want then I think it would be ignorant of anyone else to say you shouldn't have it.

      • by bhagwad (1426855)
        The Grand Parent poster is only talking about himself. There is no such thing as a "typical Indian nature." - he's trying to project his values onto others.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Parent poster is the reason why such a National ID Card is a bad idea for India.

      This card will become a means to make people prove their "Indianness".
      This is a very bad idea in a nation as diverse and full of competing ethnic/religious/language groups as India.

      People should not have to prove that they are Indian.
      Making people do so will poison the soul of this nation and cause existing divisions in society to deepen rather than be healed.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by pankkake (877909)

        This card will become a means to make people prove their "Indianness".

        Little Indian or Big Indian?

    • Well, if you have millions of people without ID, how do you know whether they are currently legal or illegal? Start with an illegal immigrant with no ID, let him choose his own Indian name, and give him an ID: voila, instant Indian citizen. 8)
      • by lenKite (631339)
        Can't do anything much about the millions already here. But we can do something about the millions more wanting to join their friends.
    • by mano.m (1587187)
      I imagine 'Indian citizen' translates to you as 'Hindu nationalist'. Yes, immigration is a problem and needs to be stopped, but I don't see what Islam has to do with it. Also, I am an Indian and value my privacy. To assume that none of a billion-strong citizenry value their privacy is a rather far-fetched one. The risk of misuse is substantial. In the Godhra riots, Muslim families and businesses were selected through the phone directory and targeted. A searchable database would be much worse.
    • by bhagwad (1426855)

      I am aware that Americans strongly believe in individual privacy and are only too eager to shudder and sneer at such measures. Privacy is a valid concern, but the need for privacy is stronger in the West and lesser in the East - one f those strange cultural differences - it simply matters less to us here. And in the hierarchy of needs, the rights of basic citizenship and access to government resources matters more than an individual need for privacy.

      Speak for yourself.

      The risk of misuse, however, is not a sufficient argument against the very real need for introduction of such an identity system in our country.

      The loss of my freedom and privacy is a sufficient argument against them. Do you think we fought and gave our lives for independence only to come under surveillance by other Indians? My privacy is so valuable to me because getting them back will be an extremely uphill task once people like you give it up easily.

      In addition, I think the Supreme Court of India will agree with me [bhagwad.com]. As soon as the cards are misused, someone will file a PIL [wikipedia.org] that will teach the government (and people lik

    • by ami.one (897193)
      And how will you know who is an illegal immigrant ? by starting to check ID cards on the road ? making it compulsory to have ID on you at all times ? These illegal immigrants you talk about will get the ID card by hook or crook. Just like they have multiple ration cards right now. The current election ID cards could as well have been used for this purpose. Its just another massive waste of our taxes.
  • Instead of wasting $2 billion tax payers money on this UID project, Govt of India should have compulsorily issued PASSPORTS to all Indians at a nominal fee of 10 rupees, OR could have created bank accounts for Indians because 85% of them do not have them. [rediff.com]
  • by freedom_india (780002) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @12:08PM (#28504997) Homepage Journal

    India is a corrupt democracy.
    The more rules and laws are present, the more corrupt the government becomes.
    I bet my ass that billions of dollars will be spent to implement it, with doubtful results.
    The really criminal and refugees will escape by paying the local officials and politicians.
    The poor lower end will get their cards after they pay some money.
    The middle class will be harassed since most move around the contry.
    The uber-rich will not care.
    In short another fiasco to add to the many fiascos called government programmes.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      India is a corrupt democracy.
      The more rules and laws are present, the more corrupt the government becomes. ...

      Well, that explains Obama and the Dems passing all those new laws.

      What percentage of "cap and trade" taxes are going to fund Al Gore's private jet trips?

      How big of another financial meltdown will Barney Frank cause when he forces mortgage standards down AGAIN!!!! [reuters.com] (Yes, folks, just last week Barney Frank was trying to force banks and government agencies to lower their lending standards. All over again. We're still sorting out the mess of a mortgage bubble burst and subsequent meltdown that's still happeni

  • I worry if they will have enough funds to maintain the database while people are dying of starvation.
  • by joh (27088) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @12:54PM (#28505435)

    ... is that *actually* we all would like to have a government that does not know anything about us and doesn't care who we are and what we do as long as we don't act as criminals or work in sensible areas.

    This is a very simple thing to understand: As long as you don't mess around with your neighbours they don't need to know anything about you. As long as you don't mess around with your larger community it does not need to know anything about you. As long as you don't mess around with your government it does not need to know anything about you. In an ideal world you could be born, live and die without your government even knowing about you as long as you don't try to do something that harms the government or the community the government cares for.

    Of course it doesn't work this way because there will always be a minority of people trying to get away from what they've done or who switch identities to be able to plot and steel and murder without being caught. And the more complex and mobile a society becomes the less you can rely on people not being able to exploit this. Nowadays and in the future this means that "leave me alone as long as I leave you alone" won't work anymore (if it ever did).

    So, yes: There is no way around databases of citizens, identity cards and all this shit. The sooner we accept this, the better. Because once you have accepted this you can start to look at the real problem and the real problem is securing all this against abuse and tampering both by the government and interested third parties. The real problem is not someone knowing everything about you, the real problem is *you* knowing nothing about everyone else and the government (or corporations) having both the power and the freedom to abuse what they have.

    And there are no simple solutions to all these problems. Todays highly virtualized, mobile and complex societies create totally new problems which need new solutions. We're not made for this and we have no build-in solutions to these problems. Every solution the ape in you suggests is probably wrong. Don't trust your first thoughts. We are building this world as we go and we can only try to do it as best as we can.

    • by causality (777677) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @03:25PM (#28506695)

      Of course it doesn't work this way because there will always be a minority of people trying to get away from what they've done or who switch identities to be able to plot and steel and murder without being caught. And the more complex and mobile a society becomes the less you can rely on people not being able to exploit this. Nowadays and in the future this means that "leave me alone as long as I leave you alone" won't work anymore (if it ever did).

      But it did work. It's only recently that we have even had the technology necessary to have this kind of (relatively) secure ID card and the databases that would make it actually useful. Somehow, we managed to get along prior to having this capability. Just think of America during the late 18th century. Back then you could commit a crime, skip town, and effectively disappear. Hand-sketched "WANTED" posters were about the most technologically sophisticated method of finding someone. There were no federal crime databases, so you could have a criminal record and move to another state and tell any employer "I have no criminal record" and they would have no effective way to prove otherwise.

      Somehow, this didn't break society or cause it to melt down into a mass of anarchy and crime. In fact, the Americans of the late 18th century didn't even remotely have (especially violent) crime like we do today and the people were much more shocked by things like murders and robberies than we are today. They tended to have strong ideals and beliefs, and generally had faith in something greater than making money in order to have children so that they can grow up to make money in order to have their own children... I don't even think that what the faith is in is the point, but rather, that you have it and know because of it that there are higher ideals than immediate expediency.

      There is a serious lack of inability to understand a sentiment. The best expression of that sentiment known to me is found in the Tao de Ching, chapter 57:

      The more laws and restrictions there are,
      The poorer people become.
      The sharper men's weapons,
      The more trouble in the land.
      The more ingenious and clever men are,
      The more strange things happen.
      The more rules and regulations,
      The more thieves and robbers.

      Therefore the sage says:
      I take no action and people are reformed.
      I enjoy peace and people become honest.
      I do nothing and people become rich.
      I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.


      That this is so nearly impossible for us to imagine today is the real problem. The Founding Fathers understood this and their beliefs about freedom, what we often label "Libertarianism" today in order to make it sound like just another option, embodies this realization when it's correctly understood and not merely parroted or preached.

      • by joh (27088)

        Of course it doesn't work this way because there will always be a minority of people trying to get away from what they've done or who switch identities to be able to plot and steel and murder without being caught. And the more complex and mobile a society becomes the less you can rely on people not being able to exploit this. Nowadays and in the future this means that "leave me alone as long as I leave you alone" won't work anymore (if it ever did).

        But it did work. It's only recently that we have even had the technology necessary to have this kind of (relatively) secure ID card and the databases that would make it actually useful. Somehow, we managed to get along prior to having this capability. Just think of America during the late 18th century. Back then you could commit a crime, skip town, and effectively disappear. Hand-sketched "WANTED" posters were about the most technologically sophisticated method of finding someone. There were no federal crime databases, so you could have a criminal record and move to another state and tell any employer "I have no criminal record" and they would have no effective way to prove otherwise.

        But this isn't the 18th century anymore. Think about it. Not paying your bills (instead of running away without paying in a store), credit card fraud and thousands more things are only possible *now*. And easily possible. Things like that might not have been a problem back then, but today single persons can crash the economy of a small country. And they often do.

        There is a serious lack of inability to understand a sentiment. The best expression of that sentiment known to me is found in the Tao de Ching, chapter 57:

        The more laws and restrictions there are,

        The poorer people become.

        The sharper men's weapons,

        The more trouble in the land.

        The more ingenious and clever men are,

        The more strange things happen.

        The more rules and regulations,

        The more thieves and robbers.

        Therefore the sage says:

        I take no action and people are reformed.

        I enjoy peace and people become honest.

        I do nothing and people become rich.

        I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.

        Yeah, I love this, too. But we are far beyond that. The "simple life" would exclude cars, computers, the Internet, credit cards, moving freely arou

        • by causality (777677)

          But this isn't the 18th century anymore. Think about it. Not paying your bills (instead of running away without paying in a store), credit card fraud and thousands more things are only possible *now*. And easily possible.

          ID cards are not a proposed solution for this problem.

          Things like that might not have been a problem back then, but today single persons can crash the economy of a small country. And they often do.

          For that they need political power. So far we have given it to them and we have reaped what

  • by martas (1439879)
    Good luck with that. the cost of maintaining such a huge database will probably be higher than their freaking budget, at least after you take out all the bribes and shit.

    In soviet india, money steals you!
  • Their faith and acceptance of the old media is astounding. I could care less what AP/Routers/NY Times has to say: they've consistently biased the news to fit the establishment, promoted trivia over news (fark,) and stagnated with the aging baby boomers.

    Opinion aside, they don't even acknowledge that newspapers could *not* post their material online. If they don't want it linked to, they don't have to make it available.

    Imagine if the New York Times migrated entirely to the World Wide Web. Could it support,

  • I read the news and was quite impressed by it. It seems like a great idea, having basic information about the citizens available, and being able to provide better service using it. And if implemented it will be a great help for the people too, being able to have a single ID to serve as their Ration cards, Voter ID, PAN cards, Driving license, Electricity bill payments etc.

    The most immediate problem however is that the infrastructure to utilize this kind of information is absent, and is not going to be widel

  • An ID card scheme here in Pakistan since, I guess, the 70's. My father has had three different NIC over the time, the current being a "Computerised" NIC that is linked to the "NAtional Database and Registration Authority"(NADRA). And that in turn links to everything.

    For example, if I need to buy a mobile SIM, get into an institute or handle any sort of official paperwork, I need my CNIC.

  • Its not an accident that the both the ruling party and the opposition party are hyping this as a panacea for citizen convenience and national security. These scum that have come into power by election fraud want to retain power at all costs and control citizens. Read George Orwells 1984 and tell me you think this is an innocent development.

    Do you know that India cannot provide basic health and education to its citizens. And these floozies claim, that having a citizen database will solve the common mans prob
  • If my country ever got invaded, I'd sure hope we didn't have a central database of citizens the bad guys could get ahold of.

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