The sad fact is that there are severe institutional capacity challenges within government departments that handle systems with sensitive data.
Focusing solely on getting rid of Aadhaar, or destroying it, is a waste of powder. The underlying issues of online privacy and civil liberties will still remain.
If Chief Justice Khehar fails to intervene, the court will allow corporations to monetise and claim property rights over the data of India’s citizens in a way that they cannot do in markets such as the European Union.
A simple Google search shows that the personal information, including Aadhaar numbers and bank account details, has simply not been secured properly.
An unprotected, publicly accessible API endpoint leaks everything from phone numbers to home addresses.
From Paytm to UID – from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to leading insurance and telecom companies – India Inc and the government are prone to poor design choices and sloppy programming.
If the government is serious about backing disruptive technologies and finding indigenous applications, it needs to start encouraging disruptive and indigenous policy-making too.
2017 will need to see less of the carrot and more of the stick in order to persuade India’s institutions to prepare against an ever-increasing number of cyber security threats.
As we hurtle towards being an Aadhaar nation, it is imperative that a legal framework, to protect our cherished rights to security and life, is created.
In an interview with The Wire, the Rajya Sabha MP talks on issues of data sovereignty and digital patriotism, and says that the government is receptive to feedback.
Going after companies like Hacking Team alone is meaningless because they fulfil a need, albeit one we may not have fully understood but whose legitimacy manifests from time to time.