[fosscomm] [OT] Issues with Unique ID

V. Sasi Kumar sasi.fsf at gmail.com
Sun Jul 26 07:37:56 PDT 2009

I think the UID thingie has problems that go far beyond questions like
whether M$ is going to get half the pie.

1. Implementing this scheme in a country of India's size is, I think,
going to be a quite difficult task. Apart from the question of
technology, there is the big question of collecting the actual data from
100 crore plus people. So, it is bound to drag on for some time, and no
one is going to be much concerned about the time taken. No other country
of this size has, I think, done that so far (since China, I think, has
not created UID). We can hope that it will die a natural death.

2. We can be pretty certain that the final cost is going to be something
like ten times the estimated cost. I can quickly think of at least two
projects in Kerala that have spent an order of magnitude more than they
were supposed to and are yet to show a drop of success for the money
they spent. One of them is ICT related. So this can easily run into
unimaginable figures. And all this to make it possible to give some
handouts to some poor people. mmm, pretty convincing, I should say.

3. Such projects in some countries (like the UK and Australia) have been
put on hold due to public pressure. Their apprehensions have been loss
of privacy and possible misuse of the data. These are, as I see, issues
that are equally valid in a developing country. When is the public going
to wake up to this and start opposing the scheme? Are we concerned about
our private data?

4. What will happen if some data are stolen from the database and
misused? And what if that data happens to be about an important or
influential or wealthy person? Could this not become a reality
considering the ease with which people can be induced to part with
information in their possession? Or the database broken into, especially
if it is done using Gatesware? I think this could get into many

V. Sasi Kumar
Free Software Foundation of India
Please visit http://swatantryam.blogspot.com 

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