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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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  • Quoi. (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by bbqsrc (1441981)
    How does collecting genetic data assist in statistically analysing population trends?
    • by masshuu (1260516)

      it doesn't. This is most likely another project thats piggybacked onto the census, as you take out 2 birds with 1 stone as the phrase goes.

      or this is a failure of an April fools joke

    • Re:Quoi. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sparx139 (1460489) on Friday April 02, 2010 @02:22AM (#31704708)
      Fingerprints and photos =/= Genetic Data
      Although to answer your question, not much. Although, if illiteracy is as bad as it suggests in TFA, then the purpose is probably to overcome this to some degree - if people can't write their name, then recording their fingerprint and their photo will reduce errors. There's a few reasons listed in TFA:

      But Ashish Bose, a retired professor of Indian and Asian population studies at Delhi University, warned of mistakes creeping in despite the best efforts. "Uneducated people in villages never know their ages correctly. It is never a '51' it always 50 or 55. But overall we conduct a good census -- no doubt about it and the vast majority of people are keen to participate," he said. S. Parasuraman, a demography professor at the Tata Institute of the Social Sciences in Mumbai, said the new population registry will provide a valuable database. "In a disaster for instance, one will be able to pinpoint how many people were living at a place before and after the catastrophe struck. It will be a compilation of useful information enabling proper governance," he said. Data collected for the National Population Register will in turn facilitate the issue of the 16-digit Unique Identity Numbers to all Indian residents. This will serve as a one-stop proof for all Indians to establish their identity, eliminating the current need to produce multiple personal documents.

      Now, putting aside the inherent "creepiness" of fingerprint scanning, it makes sense. It's the Indian poverty version of a driver's license as an ID.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AHuxley (892839)
      Depends on your population trends and ruling elites greatest fears.
      From a criminal underclass susceptible to outside messages, an ever expanding number of farmers with no land, no work and no compensation.
      With fingerprints and fast FBI like data processing many crimes will point back to an id on file and a photo.
      The problem with the ID dream is the "freedom fighters" will have "one way" mission ready perfect ID.
      Everybody else has to sit as expensive ID is produced, printed and used everyday.
      The real fu
      • Re:Quoi. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bhagwad (1426855) on Friday April 02, 2010 @02:39AM (#31704742) Homepage
        What you say is scary, but it won't happen in India for a simple reason:

        The Indian government is (luckily) incompetent and indisciplined. For tyranny to succeed, discipline is necessary which the Indian government doesn't have. An incompetent government is a gift to the people. Better than having competent fanatics. Undisciplined people can't do great irreversible damage!
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MichaelSmith (789609)

          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.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by timmarhy (659436)
            hard to imagine how it sustains a bilion people already.i guess a lot of them are living worse then my dog does (which wouldn't be hard i guess, my dog sleeps in the bed and gets premium raw pet food, he even has a health plan)
            • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

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

              • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

                by Stargoat (658863)

                Nonsense. In the US, the poor people are fat. If they cannot afford health or otherwise, it is because they made choices in life.

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by Nadaka (224565)

                  Bullshit.

                  Poor in America are fat mostly because the cheapest and most accessible foods have high calories and low nutrients (somewhat exacerbated by low levels of physical activity).

                  I am not even going to bother refuting your ridiculous assertion about healthcare, my rage at your ignorance and arrogance isn't good for my blood pressure.

        • Undisciplined people can't do great irreversible damage!

          That's what I thought about the US. Hell, 8 years of incompetence and the country strong as ever (back in 2008) - I figured that's a great stress test for the economy. And then it just collapsed. Yes, a national economy largely runs on autopilot, but the reason for it is the tremendous inertia it has a result of its sheer size. What one must remember is that a very large object, while stable in motion, is equally difficult to divert when it's rushing headlong off a cliff. I guess while the undisciplined peo

      • by timmarhy (659436)
        the problem is, nothing like your paranoid dreams has ever come true. technology doesn't instantly mean a corrupt all powerful government, in fact the real world is just the oppersite. no one uses id cards to control people, they use guns, land mines and machettes.
        • Where I live, we do have a national ID for decades and biometric passports are being phased in at the moment. Despite all the "Papiere bitte!" paranoia, in the last couple of years, the only people I had to actually show my ID were not evil gubbermint thugs controlling me on every street corner, but rather private security services making sure that I was who I claimed to be when I entered sensitive areas like R&D departments of some of my clients. Hell, I don't even need to show my passport when I leave
          • 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.
            • by timmarhy (659436)
              it's easy to paint anything in a bad light when you make up imaginary scenario's and play the "what if" card to it's nth degree. eg.

              what if i didn't get my national id card and someone tries to shoot me, and the bullet could have been stopped by the card? think of all the people what could be saved by bullet proof national id cards!!!

              making up implusible things that might happen isn't a strong defense.

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                But what was just described wasnt at all implausible. In the early 1930's the Jews of Germany were happy to complete the cencus that had a box marked for religion. in 1933 some Austrian managed to get himself installed as Chancellor. Within five years we had had Kristellnacht and then those same census forms were used to start rounding up and ghettoising the Jewish, and other "undesirable" populations. Go back to 1999 and the new milennium - would anyone in the West have imagined that within 2 years we wou
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Compaqt (1758360)

                Made-up scenario?

                The Census has already admitting to giving information [google.com] on Japanese-Americans for the purpose of their internment at concentration camps during WWII.

                After denying it for decades, they finally admitted giving names and addresses [scientificamerican.com] of Japanese-Americans to the military.

                Generally, if the government tells you X, the truth is likely Not X.

                • Which is why I left the 'race' part of my census form blank for me and my family. The census is only to determine representation, and they have to represent me regardless of our race.

                  I also left the birth date sections blank, as I can't possibly imagine any reason to have that bit of personal info floating around.

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by plague3106 (71849)

                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

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by jackal40 (1119853)
              People always say this is unlikely or unrealistic until it happens. As one posted already, we had an Austrian Corporal use Germany's census data to round up the Jews and the United States government did the same to the Japanese Americans during World War 2 - using census data.

              If you're OK with providing all the information government asks for during the census, fine. I am not, not because of some tin foil hat conspiracy theory - just from a sense of history. It will probably amount to nothing, but I don't
              • by khallow (566160)

                People always say this is unlikely or unrealistic until it happens.

                Bingo. In a healthy society, you don't get this sort of mass hysteria. Those "people" are correct under those circumstances. When a society declines from good health, such as has been happening in the US for the past ten years, that's when you have to worry.

                Fortunately, in the United States, we are not (yet) at the point of the government collecting photos and fingerprints. I don't expect that will last too much longer - probably be required as part of health care.

                Another wonderful outcome of Obamacare.

                • by DavidTC (10147)

                  Ah, yes, that imaginary Obamacare where the government has massive amounts of interaction with citizens.

                  Meanwhile, in what just passed, everyone has to buy health insurance from private companies, so it's really hard to see at what point the government would be requiring any form of ID.(1)

                  The only place the government is going to be interacting with anyone is paying taxes and distributing subsidies to cover health insurance...and the government has always required biometeric identification to pay taxes an

                  • by khallow (566160)

                    Ah, yes, that oh too real Obamacare where the government has massive amounts of interference with citizens.

                    FIFY. Also, this "imaginary" Obamacare already has the IRS involved, merely to see if you have health insurance or not. The US government, much less the IRS, shouldn't know whether you have health insurance or not. Instead, the current "reform" extends the level of interference of the federal government in the health data of its citizens.

                    In fact, it doesn't require any identification

                    ...for paying taxes. The federal government doesn't care who pays your taxes. Private businesses typically operate the same way. I once paid my landlord's phone bills for a

            • A) your reputation ruined or B) go to a secret prison and are never seen again.

              Or, C) Your name gets put on a list of, 'people to watch out for,' and, unless you do something tremendously shifty, like, say, purchase lots of ammunition or explosives, you simply get tracked a little more meticulously than most.

              The type of profiling you are talking about already happens to some degree today. Based on web searches, utility bills, credit card purchases, and so on and so on. The thing that saves us all is the fact that there are a lot of people to track. Thus, if you do something that f

          • by TZA14a (9984)
            Well, you might enjoy IBM and the Holocaust [ibmandtheholocaust.com], then. Read it and scale to today's information technology and kill capability.
    • Re:Quoi. (Score:5, Informative)

      by T Murphy (1054674) on Friday April 02, 2010 @02:33AM (#31704732) Journal
      FTA:

      a simultaneous process of collecting biometric data on every person, to be used in a new National Population Register

      Data collected for the National Population Register will in turn facilitate the issue of the 16-digit Unique Identity Numbers to all Indian residents.

      Sounds like they don't have an equivalent of social security numbers- the biometric data will help make it easier to figure out who is who in this process. Given the population, in addition to literacy issues, using an easy method is more practical than trying to minimize police-state like data collection. If you can't expect everyone to keep track of their own ID number, you need another way to peg the person to the number later. As much as I don't like the idea of fingerprinting everyone, if it's the only way to efficiently get the government to better provide services for these people, I see it as a necessary 'evil'.

      • by tirefire (724526)

        If you can't expect everyone to keep track of their own ID number, you need another way to peg the person to the number later. As much as I don't like the idea of fingerprinting everyone, if it's the only way to efficiently get the government to better provide services for these people, I see it as a necessary 'evil'.

        You've got a point here; illiteracy makes recalling and processing written numbers difficult. A biometric system will be great for the illiterate.

        However, I see no need for the literate to use this system. They should have the option of just getting a number. After all, the biometric data is likely stored and processed by computers, meaning it is expressed as a number. Maybe I'm exhibiting severe computer stupidity, but it seems like one computer system could keep track of both biometric and plain o

        • by lul_wat (1623489)
          We could tattoo numbers and barcodes on them instead. I hear IBM has just the software for the task.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Firstly, I'm Indian.

        They aren't going to do anything useful - paperwork will still be the way they ("our" government) does things. To be honest, most ppl working in government desk jobs are stupider than your average office-going person. It will take at least 5 years for anything useful to come of it.

        I sure as shit hope they're using a 64 bit doubleword, longword, long long, quad, quadword or int64 [wikipedia.org] for the 16-digit UIN/UID, with a unique key in their database. Knowing Indian govt., that's an easy thing for

      • by jittles (1613415)
        I'm guessing another reason they're doing this is to limit fraud. It will be much harder for people to steal social services benefits if the finger prints don't match with someone who qualifies.
    • Well the process of collection makes it far more likely that the average person will remain in awe, fear and subservience to the state.

      • by fantomas (94850)

        What is it about the "process of collection" that "makes it far more likely that the average person will remain in awe, fear and subservience to the state"? Are people in India generally in awe/fear/subservience of the state? My impression when I visited on two occcasions is that many people are happy to question their political leaders and are happy to exert their political rights in many cases.

        My experience of India though is limited so if you can provide examples and references I'd be happy to be educate

      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        If you can't read, don't know where or when you were born and chose your own name, usually you don't know what a 'state' _is_.

        • by Compaqt (1758360)

          You can still watch the news on TV (or listen on the radio), so I think people know what state and city they are in.

          Also, there are degrees of illiteracy. If you had to, I'm sure you could start writing your name (or ID number) in Arabic or Chinese even if you couldn't read a newspaper in those languages.

          The biometric stuff is just a pure power grab. Do bureaucrats have international conventions where they discuss how to be more and more Evilll?

    • by Compaqt (1758360)

      Governments are basically are in a race to be the most privacy-invading, rights-ignoring country across the world.

      Meanwhile the US Census is sending out the American Community Survey [google.com], which wants to know:
      -if you run a business from your house
      -how much you earn from various activities
      -how you spend your money
      -number of toilets
      -what time you leave for work, how long it takes, and how many travel with you (wonderful to know for stalkers)
      -and other weird and invasive questions

  • SMILE!!! You're on candid camera INDIA EDITION!

  • Pros... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by doishmere (1587181) on Friday April 02, 2010 @02:21AM (#31704700)
    As long as reasonable attempts are made to keep this information secure and out of the hands of the police, this is a case where the privacy concerns are far outweighed by the benefits. India has the world's second largest population [wikipedia.org]; think about how difficult it must be form them to keep track of even simple census data. The U.S. has a population one fourth the size of India, and still has trouble taking taking a census only once every 10 years. This will allow India to better allocate aid to impoverished regions, or even just track what percentage of children actually attend school.
    • Re:Pros... (Score:5, Informative)

      by bhagwad (1426855) on Friday April 02, 2010 @02:29AM (#31704724) Homepage
      Privacy concerns cannot be "outweighed" because:

      1. Privacy is a legal right guaranteed by the Indian Constitution [bhagwad.com]
      2. The courts have repeatedly shown that they will uphold privacy
      3. People fought and died for freedoms - not development. Losing privacy is one step towards losing freedoms that we have earned

      You may not treasure your privacy and that's your right. But don't tell me that I mustn't care for it in the name of "Development." A person like you will probably applaud the Chinese government for development at the cost of privacy.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by BrokenHalo (565198)
        Wow. I haven't read the Indian Constitution, but that sounds pretty impressive. Certainly sounds like something the so-called "free world" would do well to emulate. Yeah, I know, fat chance.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by doishmere (1587181)
        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 pri
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          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 terr

          • by Rogerborg (306625)

            Can you explain the difference, in terms of privacy concerns, between an image of your fingerprints and an image of your face?

            Please use short words, because I'm clearly neither as smart nor as angry as you.

            • Mate, your opinions on yourself are your own business and those on myself are lighter than a feather, so please consider not wasting page space next time. As they say, stones and sticks may break my bones and all that jazz.

              Now as to your question. A picture of your face is in the majority of cases not a definitive means of identification - especially the limited type in photo IDs. Maybe you've heard of people looking alike. Perhaps that's one reason why some places (like banks) would ask you for 2 photo IDs

              • by Rogerborg (306625)

                Chummy, old buddy, dear heart, I most humbly apologise for not realising that your words are more worthy than mine. I don't wish to "waste more page space", but I feel that it's best that we're clear on which of us has the better claim to squandering this precious resource.

                Well, I agree with you that fingerprints are a better means of identification. But since passports - which you seemed implicitly to approve of, by discounting their significance - already require an image of your face, not your finger

            • by Threni (635302)

              > Can you explain the difference, in terms of privacy concerns, between an image of your fingerprints and an image of your face?

              You could have networks of cameras which can read faces, and then look up that person's identity and flag them immediately to the authorities. You can go fishing for people, and you'd get some false hits, which would be inconvenient if you look like a terrorist.

              Fingerprints should uniquely identify you, but can't be used as above.

        • The government isn't collecting this information to spy on its citizens

          Until it starts doing it. Your trust in government is overwhelming. Have you ever been to India?

        • by Suhas (232056)

          The government isn't collecting this information to spy on its citizens

          The government isn't collecting this information to spy on its citizens, yet.
          There, fixed that for you.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by crazyvas (853396)
        BS. It's not guaranteed by the Constitution. It was a decision made by the Supreme court. HUGE difference.
        • by bhagwad (1426855)
          A decision that interpreted the constitution and brought privacy within the ambit of "The right to life"
        • by poptones (653660)
          Are you talking about the US or India? If you're talking about the US, this would easily fall under that whole 4th ammendment thing: I have the right to protection from unreasonable searches and/or confinement. Taking my fingerprints when I have done nothing and without my consent is a violation of my person no different than walking into my house uninvited and without warrant.
      • by mrops (927562)

        you probably haven't seen indian police stations.

        In rural ares they are a building with the most hi-tech equipment being a half dented radio used for comunication and dispatch. some will have a telephone.

        In more modern areas they may have a 386 with win95 running on it, and very unlikely any kind of networking. so i wouldn't worry about police using the data for a few decades to come. CBI (think Indian FBI) on the other hand may be in a better position to make use of this data.

      • by raddan (519638) *
        Yes, but 'citizenship' is not private information. It is essential, for a government of any kind, to know whether you are a member or not, in order to function. So the issue here is whether biometric information is a heavy-handed way of determining membership.

        Given the difficulties with such a large population, widespead illiteracy, and issues with identity fraud (which the West still struggles with), I'm not sure how else you would do it. I'm inclined to say that a photo and a fingerprint are not pri
      • People fought and died for freedoms - not development.

        Really? I am pretty sure that almost every case of imperialism since the dawn of history could be classified as people fighting and dying for development. They just weren't fighting for the development of those who were fighting them. =P

        Not that I am disagreeing with your post in general. I agree that privacy is something to be valued and protected. However, I am not sure point 3 holds water in your list.

        Then again, you may be referring to India, specifically, when talking about point 3. If that's th

    • by dcollins (135727)

      "As long as reasonable attempts are made to keep this information secure and out of the hands of the police..."

      When the hell has that ever been done?

    • Screw the right to privacy. That really is small taters compared to what could happen with this data. It's not about what the goberment will do with the data it collects, it is more about what could be done with it.

      Say the goberment swoops in and collects your name, address, favorite sexual position, and religion. They keep it in a nice fat file and really don't do anything with it. Then a few years later a meglomaniact comes to power and uses that data to round up all the jews and cart them off to

    • So if they fail to keep the information secure, but they did their bes, it is all right, lets give those people a pat in the back and shrug off the identity theft that ensues.

      In the US there was already somebody tampering with anti terrorism lists (the US authorities would not say in which way but it is not difficult to imagine many scenarios).

      Reasonable attempts is not good enough. The only way to be sure this data is not abused is not to collect the data at all in the first place ( the government can and

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday April 02, 2010 @02:26AM (#31704716)

    Am also struggling to imagine how the photo and fingerprint collection is going to happen, technology-wise.

    Simple - don't tell them you're from the Indian census bureau. Tell them you're from Facebook.in, and they'll fight over who can give you their blood and other bodily fluids first.

  • I heard something about how, in Thailand, they're including blood samples in their census. Yup, the news was just talking about how the citizens are pretty much taking their blood right to the steps of the capitol...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2010 @02:37AM (#31704736)

    Right? ...oh

  • I know this is tin foil talk and all but how hard would it be for other countries to take census forms and check them for finger prints?
    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Quite difficult. Many countries require that you be charged with criminal offence(read: high-level crime which jail is the end result) of some kind before your fingerprints be taken in any form, or recorded in any database for any purpose. In my small neck of the woods, fingerprinting for anything else is considered a violation of the law.

      Even then, your fingerprints can be removed from the database if you're cleared of the charges.

    • by jonadab (583620)
      > take census forms and check them for finger prints?

      How would you determine whose prints are on any given form?

      In the first place, there's not a one-to-one relationship between people and forms, since most people live in a household with other people. If there were one form per person, that would lead to a much less accurate census, because more people would decide not to bother.

      Even if somehow magically there were a form for every person, you still don't have any way to know whose fingerprints are on
      • by Nikker (749551)
        Just by taking the prints and the GPS location of the household if law enforcement found a set that matched Jon Q Public's fingerprints then they would narrow it down to a very select number of people, maybe 10 or so(the parents, kids, their lawyer, etc). Now out of 300 million you've narrowed it down to just a few. Over the course of multiple interactions you start to fill in some blank spaces. If you take into consideration all other forms of correspondence you would fill in these gaps much quicker.

        L
  • As an Indian citizen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kream (78601) <<hoipolloi> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday April 02, 2010 @02:53AM (#31704768)

    Makes sense to point out here 2 crucial differences between the US and India.
    In India, there's no Right to Privacy as strongly guaranteed under the US Constitution. Secondly, there is a strongly articulated bundle of rights called the "Right to Life". This includes the right to food, education, access to free / subsidised health services etc. In India, there are massive government programmes for the provision of basic services (food, shelter, education, irrigation, water, electricity, transport etc) to citizens.

    In this context, the people, rather than being wary of the state and treating it like an enemy as is the case in the US actually want the state to help them. If you were to provide an Indian farmer with irrigation, access to primary healthcare facilities, water, sanitation, education and drought/flood relief, most would gladly fork over their private details.

    Of course, modern states are brutal and the information collected will no doubt be used to casually repress people and tighten the state's hold on them. However, the integrity of your DNA fingerprint is of little consequence if you've committed suicide [wikipedia.org] because of mounting debts.

    • by Kream (78601) <<hoipolloi> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday April 02, 2010 @02:57AM (#31704780)

      One point to note here is that unlike the US, democracy works in India in the sense that there is a true multi-party system and a plethora of actual contenders from power, from the far left (Communist Party of India - Marxist) to the far right (Shiv Sena) (Army of Shiva) and the people have demonstrated that they are perfectly willing to consign parties to oblivion permanently if they don't serve public interests.

      • Yes. India is also a parliamentary system. Parliamentary systems lend themselves to true multi-party arrangements like this. Alternatively, you'll only *very* rarely see a party member go against party leadership on any issue in particular. So, it's a bit different than the way we do things in the USA. In my view, there tends to be less true negotiation among an assembly (i.e. legislature) in these systems. The members follow the lead of their party heads and that's about it.

        Both systems have thei
    • by bhagwad (1426855)
      Already posted this here once, but looks like you didn't read the earlier comments.

      The Indian constitution does guarantee privacy and the courts have always upheld this principle [bhagwad.com].

      In fact from what I understand, the US has less privacy controls [umkc.edu] in their constitution than India does.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Kream (78601)

        Bhagwad, you're wrong. I am in fact a lawyer and while Kharak Singh did mention the right to privacy in 1963, that right has scarcely been upheld or even enforced subsequently. Particularly in this day and age where, for example, ALL people renting houses in metros and ALL domestic servants in metros have to register themselves, their lease deeds and particulars with the state, the right to privacy as it is understood in the US is nonexistent here. Your links to your own blog notwithstanding.

        • by bhagwad (1426855) on Friday April 02, 2010 @06:00AM (#31705118) Homepage
          It has been upheld. As recently as 2009, the Delhi HC used privacy as a reason [privacyinternational.org] for the decriminalization of homosexuality.

          To quote from the Delhi High Court:
          "In the Indian Constitution, the right to live with dignity and the right of privacy both are recognised as dimensions of Article 21"

          To quote again:
          "It is not within the constitutional competence of the State to invade the privacy of citizens lives or regulate conduct to which the citizen alone is concerned"

          How much stronger does this need to be stated before it's recognized that Indian courts protect privacy within the legal framework?

          Recently the Supreme Court said that pre marital sex was no one else's business. The foundation for that is is a strong ideal of privacy.

          Also, lease agreements do not need to be [legalserviceindia.com] registered if it's less than a year. Can you tell me in exactly which way the US looks at privacy differently?
    • I think you're missing the most crucial difference, which is that the US is not actually a state.

      Regardless, the right to privacy is not really "strongly" guaranteed by the US constitution. In fact it is not specifically mentioned at all. It is protected along with all other un-enumerated rights by the 9th amendment. The right to pee standing up is equally as protected.

      The rights protected by the US constitution are only negative rights. Positive rights such as food and shelter and education are not inc

    • by westlake (615356)

      In India, there's no Right to Privacy as strongly guaranteed under the US Constitution.

      There is no such explicit right to privacy in the American Constitution:

      The U. S. Constitution contains no express right to privacy. The Bill of Rights, however, reflects the concern of James Madison and other framers for protecting specific aspects of privacy, such as the privacy of beliefs (1st Amendment), privacy of the home against demands that it be used to house soldiers (3rd Amendment), privacy of the person and

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      The US and Indian consitutions are basically the same with respect to privacy. Neither mention it, neither declare it as a right. Both declare other rights which the "right to privacy" has been derived from by their courts.

  • Uhh I recall watching a video in middle school (a 15 years ago??) about the 1990 Chinese Census of 2 billion people, with an error rate of less than 1%. I would say it is roughly twice as large as India's "the biggest exercise... since humankind came into existence". Maybe Indians are... ahem, larger than the Chinese in some respects?

  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why is there always a question mark on non-Indians about their ability to achieve something? I see lots of uncertainty expressed about India and Indians in forums.
    I know people the electronic voting machine miserably failed in the US, for instance. Still they have not got it right. In India, they have been using electronic voting system for a long time now. I know the kind of spending they do in the US to achieve anything. In India, they spend 100 times lesser to achieve the same thing. The US does not know

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why doubt everything that comes from India?

      Indian technical people?

      I mean, sure, there are some good ones and it's really not a place of origin thing at all, but there seems to be a lot of mediocre Indian technical people around at the moment, and it makes everyone sensitive to all of India's flaws.

      It's possibly something do with the quality of education, cultural attitude and social background of recent immigrants, but damn: 'is it?' is not an intelligent thing to say.

    • The quality revolution in the US, which started after Japan's, is itself a testimonial to their being historically inefficient.

      W Edwards Deming [wikipedia.org] was an American who helped kick-start Japan's post-WWII production quality & efficiency. They had they advantage of starting from scratch. Many if not all american co's eventually got the message, too.

  • Sounds like a good idea to use the Census to register people. Most civilized countries have a civil registry which includes a photo and fingerprints.

  • The twin census and population register processes will stretch over 11 months, consume 11.63 million tonnes of paper and cost 60 billion rupees (1.25 billion dollars)

    Why not use electronic means? Shyte. My name is going to be spelt wrong, AGAIN. :(

  • Caste system (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Wonder what the implications are for a country that creates under- and over-privilege through a genetically-driven caste system.

    There are probably a lot of people who would prefer to remain anonymous lest someone discover they are not of as high a status as they pretend to be.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by buzzzz (767841)
      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 socia
  • duh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Cowpat (788193) on Friday April 02, 2010 @07:39AM (#31705294) Journal

    Am also struggling to imagine how the photo and fingerprint collection is going to happen, technology-wise.

    Lots of these [staples.co.uk]
    Might be expensive, though.

    But on a serious note, it should be interesting to see, after 1 billion fingerprints (about 1/6 of the world population) are gathered, whether the assumption that they're unique is still valid.

    • by raddan (519638) *
      Fingerprints are probably something like hash functions. There are collisions now and then, enough to make them useless as a global identity function, but very useful when you need to be able to say "this ID does not belong to you", because the likelihood of someone possessing stolen identification, and their fingerprint actually matching, is infinitesimal.
  • by dup_account (469516) on Friday April 02, 2010 @08:12AM (#31705346)
    "Am also struggling to imagine how the photo and fingerprint collection is going to happen, technology-wise."

    Come on, this is India, the country we trust all our IT development work to. If a country has the abilities, it should be India.
  • Argh. (Score:3, Funny)

    by RealErmine (621439) <commerce@@@wordhole...net> on Friday April 02, 2010 @09:15AM (#31705650)

    Wonder how effective — and how powerful — the exercise will turn out to be for the country. Am also struggling to imagine how the photo and fingerprint collection is going to happen, technology-wise.

    Am also struggling to form complete sentences.

  • Some states have their BMV pictures in a database now, whats a bit of extra data ( the fingerprint )? Storing is easy, its mining the data that is hard. ( and these days, not all that hard )

  • Indiana the first time.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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