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PIL alleging UIDAI shares citizen data with foreign companies withdrawn

Was filed the Karnataka HC against the UIDAI contracting with foreign companies, giving wide-ranging data access, on national security grounds

A public interest litigation seeking quashing of three contracts between the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and foreign companies was permitted to be withdrawn by the Karnataka High Court on October 20, 2022. A division bench of Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Ashok S Kinagi, disposed the petition filed by Mathews Thomas, a retired army office, by stating, “After arguing the matter for some time, Prashant Bhushan, the learned counsel appearing along with the counsel on record prays for withdrawal of the petition with liberty to avail appropriate legal remedies including approaching the apex court.” According to Live Law, the plea said that UIDAI by entering into the contracts allowed foreign companies to "access to all data" and "authorised [them] to use, store, transfer, process, and link to any individual". It argued that the contracts violated citizens’ fundamental rights and posed a serious threat to national security. Why it matters: Privacy experts have time and again voiced concern about digital identity systems like Aadhaar in the absence of data protection laws in India. For many people, Aadhaar is linked to other important documents, bank accounts, etc. Recently, there have been moves to link Aadhaar with Voter ID as well. In light of this, it is worrying that the central authorities are so lax in allowing the sharing of Aadhaar data with foreign entities. What was the plea’s argument? Thomas said that he was also a petitioner before the Supreme Court in the “Justice Puttaswamy case” but the…

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I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

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