Balance needed between Aadhaar utility, privacy: Ravi Shankar Prasad

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New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said a balance was needed to be maintained between Aadhaar data utility and privacy.

“Balance is to be struck between Aadhaar data availability, utility, privacy and anonymity,” Prasad said here at the conclave on financial inclusion organised by the UN in India.

The Supreme Court on August 24 had declared Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right guaranteed by the Indian Constitution, a ruling that could have a bearing on the case related to Aadhaar that has been made mandatory for various services.

The right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21, the court had said.

The case is pending in the Supreme Court on whether the government’s move to make Aadhaar-linking mandatory with PAN, etc. is violative of the fundamental right to privacy.

“Supreme Court has held right to privacy as part of Article 21. We are committed to respect the judgement and privacy of individuals. But it is not absolute,” Prasad said.

The right to privacy has illustrative restraints like national security and dissemination of social benefits. The government will have to prove that Aadhaar comes under the illustrative restraint of dissemination of social benefits.

He said the Aadhaar data is safe and secure as its technology has been indigenously innovated.

“The system contains biometrics. Data is kept in encrypted form. It safe and secure. We have backed it with strict legal punishment. If there is any leakage of Aadhaar information there is a fine of Rs 7 lakh,” he added.

Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, which aims to provide legal backing to the Aadhaar unique identification number project, was passed in 2016 by Parliament.

–IANS

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