Don't create panic, inform customers deadline for Aadhaar linking: SC
The SC has directed telcos and banks not to create panic among customers and inform them of proper deadlines to link Aadhaar instead of threatening immediate deactivation of services. The deadline for Aadhaar-SIM linking remains February 6, and Aadhaar-bank accounts, December 31. It has also refused to pass an interim order staying Aadhaar linking. Read more about the hearing on mandatory Aadhaar.
The start of mandatory SIM-Aadhaar linking
Earlier this year, the Lokniti Foundation, an NGO, had approached the SC seeking a "definite mobile phone subscriber verification scheme to ensure 100% verification of subscribers". The Centre then submitted it can be done by "putting in place a mechanism, similar to the one adopted for new subscribers", implying Aadhaar. The SC had then asked the Centre to get it done within a year.
Why are telcos in a hurry?
Despite over three months being left, many telcos are messaging and calling customers urging immediate linking or facing disconnection. "There is major trouble for people living in rural, hilly or smaller towns. Service centres are located at faraway locations," complained a customer. Telcos explained it is to prevent a "potential rush if everyone comes for verification towards the end of the deadline in February".
UIDAI takes steps to ease Aadhaar-SIM linking
By 1 Dec 2017, you can also choose to verify your mobile SIM with Aadhaar without giving your biometrics to Telecom Service Providers. pic.twitter.com/zcCKYbYgwP— Aadhaar (@UIDAI) November 2, 2017
Why do critics oppose mandatory Aadhaar anyway?
A primary argument against mandatory Aadhaar is that it breaches citizens' right to privacy; there have been several instances when government websites themselves have revealed personal data of thousands. Another is security. How safe is the Aadhaar database from cyber attacks? Moreover, there are concerns over reliability. Is there certainty Aadhaar cards can't be forged? Finally, are there enough checks to prevent possible misuse?
How has the Centre defended its stand?
On November 3, the Centre submitted a 113-page affidavit backing its stand. Aadhaar is mandatory for opening new bank accounts, it argued. Contrary to reports, no starvation deaths had taken place due to Aadhaar, the Centre claimed. Moreover, "there hasn't been any instance of hacking in UIDAI or any of its servers". Earlier, the SC had validated its decision of mandatory Aadhaar-PAN linking.