The draft amendments to the Aadhaar Authentication Rules, 2020, will lead to commercial exploitation of individuals and their personal information, according to a joint submission by Rethink Aadhaar, Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), Access Now and Article 21 Trust to the IT Ministry. The IT Ministry issued draft amendments to the Aadhaar Authentication for Good Governance (Social Welfare, Innovation, Knowledge) Rules, 2020, on April 20, for which people could submit feedback by May 20. The proposed amendments allow non-governmental entities to carry out Aadhaar authentication, which until now, is restricted to government actors only. What does the submission say? A joint submission by the abovementioned organisations pointed out that the “implicit purpose” of the rules is “commercial exploitation”. The comments highlighted that the Supreme Court, in the Aadhaar judgment, had held that allowing private entities to use Aadhaar for authentication purposes makes one’s “biometric and demographic information susceptible to misuse and commercial exploitation”. Another major concern is the risk of personal data getting used for profiling individuals without their consent, and the amendments do not provide any safeguards from these dangers. Why it matters: The proposed amendments add to the dangers posed by the runaway use of Aadhaar for reasons that go beyond the scope of “public interest,” the meaning of which is not clearly defined in law. Further, the added clause “promote ease of living” is too vague and can incentivize the unnecessary use of Aadhaar for any objective which is even remotely related to providing a service, thus gradually limiting the choice…
Use of Aadhaar by private entities can cause commercial exploitation of people’s data: Rethink Aadhaar and others
The proposed amendments add to the dangers posed by the runaway use of Aadhaar for reasons that go beyond the scope of “public interest,” the meaning of which is not clearly defined in law.
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