It is only the enlightened ruler and the wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army for spying, and thereby they achieve great results.
The quote by the 6th Century Chinese Philosopher Sun Tzu is still followed in the military. But its hint can also be seen among the general citizens. Here’s how.
The idea of a universal identity card for all the citizens was first developed in 2009 under the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA). The primary reason for creating Aadhar was to maintain a steady and continuous chain of communication between the poor and the authorities so that all the schemes by the government reach out to them in no time.
Over the years, questions have been raised targeting the privacy factor of Aadhar Card. With the linking of Aadhar Card with almost all the fields of life viz. driving, banking, subsidies, traveling, etc. raised concerns over its widespread usage. This makes the surveillance easy for governmental agencies as they have the picture, fingerprints, retina details of every Aadhar Card holders.
In 2018 around 200 official government websites accidentally made personal Aadhaar data public
Other similar cases evolved out of nowhere when journalists from the newspaper ‘The Tribune’ reported that Aadhar Card details were sold in Whatsapp Groups for INR 500 (7.1 USD).
Crypto AG, Operation Thesaurus aka Rubicon
Crypto AG was a company that was jointly owned by the USA”s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Germany’s Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). The company manufactured code-writing machines which are generally used for encrypted communication.
CIA and BND through Crypto AG ran Operation Thesaurus which was later known as Rubicon. The company in its list of clientele included India. The entire history of the company was dug out by The Washington Post and the German public broadcaster Second German Television (ZDF).
The part of the story which looks fishy is the failure of the Indian Authorities in keeping a check on their encrypted communication channel. Operation Thesaurus/Rubikon was on its active stage from the 1970s to 2018.
Urging demand for Call Records
As conversations and communication moved from letters to phone calls, the central government has been pursuing the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for seeking call logs, records, and data of mobile subscribers in some areas of Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Punjab.
A senior executive of a telecom operator said, “It has been happening for several months now but during January and February, we started seeing these mass requests”.
In the detailed report by the Indian Express, they learned that information of around 53 million subscribers of Delhi was collected by the DoT from February 2 to 4. The fact that the protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act were held around the same time raises suspicion behind the collection of the data.
The technical errors of Aarogya Setu App
After the French hacker, Elliot Alderson pointed out some technical and background errors in the development of the Aarogya Setu App, the Indian Governmental Authorities did not put much effort on the error. It was only after a few days when the french hacker put out a tweet for an open-source release of the app to check its privacy validities.
In another tweet dating 15th May, he tweeted the sharing of information of home quarantined people with some information in Karnataka.
Aarogya Setu works the availability of Bluetooth and location access of the user which poses a greater threat. The app allows the authorities to upload the collected information to a government-owned and operated “server”, which will provide data to persons carrying out medical and administrative interventions necessary about Covid-19.
The big issue with the app is that it tracks location, which globally has been deemed unnecessary, says Nikhil Pahwa, editor of internet watchdog Medianama.
In the end, surveillance is a vital part of maintaining peace and tolerance in a state but not at the cost of disrupting the privacy laws guaranteed under the Indian Constitution. The vital considerable point which shows the hollow side of the government is the attempt to spy on its citizens due to unknown reasons.