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Government Privacy

Indian Census To Collect Fingerprints, Photos 141

Posted by timothy
from the one-massive-undertaking dept.
adityamalik writes "The Indian census kicks off on Thursday, with approximately 2.5 million people charged with conducting it across the billion-plus strong country. 'Officials will collect fingerprints and photograph every resident for the first time for the register — a process described by Home Minister P. Chidambaram as 'the biggest exercise... since humankind came into existence.' Sensitivity towards collection of biometrics and personal details is quite low in India currently. I wonder how effective — and how powerful — the exercise will turn out to be for the country. I'm also struggling to imagine how the photo and fingerprint collection is going to happen, technology-wise."
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Indian Census To Collect Fingerprints, Photos

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  • Re:Quoi. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday April 02, 2010 @02:51AM (#31704766) Homepage Journal

    An incompetent government is a gift to the people.

    I think India is an example of it going a bit too far. India is in desperate need of Chinese style population control. Right now the region is a sitting duck for famine. I wouldn't want to see a billion people starve to death.

  • by noidentity (188756) on Friday April 02, 2010 @03:09AM (#31704808)
    When making a submission, please summarize the facts, and if you have opinions about it, reply in a comment as we common folks do. Your opinion isn't above ours. Thank you.
  • Re:Pros... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by doishmere (1587181) on Friday April 02, 2010 @03:23AM (#31704842)
    There's a difference between a right to privacy and the right for you to keep you existence unknown from the government. I agree that privacy is terribly important, but you can't deal with absolutes; yes, people have died for freedom, but that does not mean we must reject anything that encroaches upon it the slightest. The government isn't collecting this information to spy on its citizens, its doing so to provide services to them and properly run the government. You claim the Indian courts will protect privacy; if this is truly the case, then it is likely that anyone misusing this data would be prosecuted.
  • Re:Pros... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ScriptedReplay (908196) on Friday April 02, 2010 @03:55AM (#31704892)

    There's a difference between a right to privacy and the right for you to keep you existence unknown from the government.

    So you're unknown to the government if they don't have your prints now? I guess before this breakthrough invention a census was a meaningless exercise. And IDs and passports a joke. And paper trail for taxes, properties and so on just something to kindle fire. Oh, how silly of so many other countries.

    I agree that privacy is terribly important, but you can't deal with absolutes

    Yeah, whoever heard of things that you either have or don't. Also, you're a little pregnant, you know?

    The government isn't collecting this information to spy on its citizens, its doing so to provide services to them and properly run the government.

    Right. Of course. And whoever does not fully trust that bunch of selfish bureaucrats is a traitor. Or a terrorist. Or something. Mussolini would be proud of you, son.

  • Re:Quoi. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:34AM (#31704960)
    The problem isn't for the ordinary citizen during peacetime, but rather when the government decides to go to "war" against their private citizens. From the 1990s onwards, the west has been pretty peaceful. But imagine if we get another wave of Cold War era paranoia? Do you -really- want the government tracking everything you do when that happens? National ID cards aren't terrible during peace where nothing is happening, but a few laws passed on the side can allow the government to easily profile a person as an "enemy"

    Imagine this scenario. Your country goes to war with say, Japan for no apparent reason. Everything about Japan is frowned upon, those of Japanese decent are rounded up (similar to what happened in the US), and the government requires IDs to be checked when purchasing goods to "make sure you aren't a spy". Well, all that happens and the government is logging data, profiling you. It sees that you bought a book about the culture of Japan at the local bookstore, some sushi with a friend and a collection of Asian flags. From this information the government decides that -you- could possibly be a spy for Japan trying to overthrow your government so you either have A) your reputation ruined or B) go to a secret prison and are never seen again.

    Such things seem unrealistic, but similar things have happened in the past even with no national ID and no standard way of checking people. When hysteria grips the masses, people who say they support freedom change their tone.
  • Re:Quoi. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2010 @06:12AM (#31705142)

    He's better off than 30 million US citizens then.

  • Re:Quoi. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by plague3106 (71849) on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:05AM (#31706502)

    The OP's scenario is not implausible at all. Look up the red scare. or even nazi gemany. Before they could enslave and later murder the jews, they had to know who was jewish.

    Why does everyone think that bad stuff can't happen here? Its silly, the whole reason we have a bill of rights and (supposedly) limited government is because bad things WERE happening here.

    You want to give total control of your life over to someone you don't even know, and then your only recourse is to simply trust that you won't be abused? How stupid are you?

  • Re:Caste system (Score:2, Insightful)

    by buzzzz (767841) on Friday April 02, 2010 @01:47PM (#31708270)
    Actually, due to the huge amount of affirmative action, upper cast people often try to be identified as lower cast. In India 50% of all university seats, government jobs, and other opportunities are reserved from people identified to be from the under-privileged castes. The lower castes are also one of the strongest political blocks with huge electoral powers. If anything the lower caste people want it to be easier to prove they are in fact lower class so they can get all the benefits there in. The social stigma exists, but is not dependent on or impacted by the government. Its going to remain till a few generations of Indians have lived and ancient truths on this matter have ceased to be the standard.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

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