The Supreme Court of India on September 26 pronounced its judgement on the validity of the Aadhaar project, upholding it in a 4:1 verdict. While the Free Software Movement of India notes that certain blatant misuses of the project have been identified and struck down, at the same time, the larger infrastructure has been broadly left intact.
FSMI and its allies, from the very beginning, objected to the project due to the possibilities of data leakage, surveillance and exclusions. Our concerns were validated over the years as people were denied basic necessities, leading to even deaths, large-scale data leakages also occurred from various databases.
The declaration by the Supreme Court of Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act as unconstitutional, will hopefully mark the closing of the doors on the dangerous possibilities that arise out of private companies misusing Aadhaar data, as happened in the Airtel case. In the light of this section being declared unconstitutional, the government must immediately come up with a plan to scrub the data available with such companies. It is to be recalled that many financial entities, including telecom companies and banks, forced their customers to link their Aadhaar numbers, often employing threats of discontinuing services. The government must come up with an action plan to de-link this data and scrub their databases.