New Delhi: Unlike user data of individuals that the state can collect from Facebook, Google or Twitter only with a court order, there is no such safeguard in place for Aadhaar data, lawyer Kapil Sibal told the Supreme Court.
Sibal was taking forward arguments against the unique identity number in the case being heard by a constitution bench, which has Chief Justice Dipak Misra, besides justices D.Y. Chandrachud, A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar and Ashok Bhushan.
“If the state wants Google to give information, it will have to get a court order. Aadhaar bypasses this safeguard," Sibal submitted.
On this, Justice Chandrachud said that distinction may not be persuasive, because in today’s world, one has only notional consent even with respect to private players.
Sibal also explained the concept of metadata, which he said revealed a lot of information about an individual.
Aadhaar gives the State a Right To Information (RTI) over the individual, in the same way that the RTI law gives the right to an individual, Sibal said.
Sibal further claimed that Aadhaar was prone to be misused due to user information being left in public domain. Another problem, he said, was the “unbridled nature of power", an argument earlier made by counsel Shyam Divan, who concluded arguments earlier in the day.
In earlier arguments, Aadhaar’s architecture was criticized on grounds of it leading to a surveillance state by tracking people or using their personal data if not curtailed, being destructive of a limited Constitution and violating an individual’s fundamental right to privacy. Issues with Unique Identification Authority of India’s enrolment procedure that raised concerns about data breaches were also put forth.
A total of 31 petitions have been tagged by the Supreme Court to be heard by the constitution bench. They challenge several aspects of Aadhaar, the 12-digit unique identity number that has become a bedrock of government welfare programmes, the tax administration network and online financial transactions, and the use/sharing of personal data collected by the UIDAI.
Arguments against Aadhaar will continue on Wednesday.