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What RS Sharma had to say about consent, privacy, and UIDAI’s handling of Aadhaar

Sharma stood by his decision to publicly disclose his own Aadhaar number as he still doesn’t see it as a problem.

I gave a number to you (with consent), random number, which law have I violated? -- Even if I gifted that number to you without your permission, it's up to you to use that number. If I give the number to everybody in this hall, and if you don't use that number, what crime have I committed — RS Sharma, CEO, National Health Authority Sharma was reacting to the criticism levied on him and the Indian government for attaching the enrollment of unique Health IDs through Aadhaar-enabled vaccine registrations. It has been reported that individuals falsely believed that Aadhaar is mandatory for authentication through CoWIN and thus, unknowingly signed up for Health IDs. Sharma's comments were not standalone but in line with his criticism of the privacy and data security narrative surrounding Aadhaar during Day 2 of the Workshop on Aadhaar 2.0: "Expanding Use of Aadhaar to Boost Digital Economy". Regardless of how these unique IDs are being issued, the lack of a data protection law poses serious privacy concerns as to how the proposed digital ecosystems will evolve because there are no clear guidelines on what and how data can be collected, used, shared, and stored. UIDAI is shying away from the digital nature of Aadhaar: Sharma Sharma criticised officials of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and other government officials for "misinterpreting the Supreme Court judgement" and also for treating Aadhaar akin to other physical identity cards. UIDAI should not have started issuing physical Aadhaar cards: "The…

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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