‘Aadhaar used to control populations and regulate access’

Published - March 02, 2024 04:18 am IST - HYDERABAD

File photo of the Aadhaar card logo

File photo of the Aadhaar card logo | Photo Credit: KRISHNAN VV

Systems based on digital IDs, like Aadhaar, are being used as a method to control populations and regulate access, said digital rights and privacy researcher Srinivas Kodali. He was speaking at the 14th anniversary of Lamakaan on Cybernetic Census and The Politics of Numbers in Digital India. “A policing system built on Aadhaar is a controlling system. DigiYatra is a controlling system. You have control over airports and I will decide if I let you pass or not,” he said, giving an example.

He said that Aadhaar is a process of treating humans as numbers. It is a tracking system, he said, that keeps tabs on humans from birth to death.

Mr. Kodali traced the history of cybernetics and said that its modern manifestation came in 1997 in Hyderabad when the city became a part of the global Information Technology supply chain. For instance, former undivided Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s eSeva project came from Estonia, a digital society.

Cut to 2014, the then Telangana Rashtra Samithi government embarked on an intensive household survey which proved instrumental in the creation of the 360-degree citizen profiling system, a method of keeping an eye on the citizenry. “It created an information hub. The police wanted to know everybody in the society, to create profiles of everyone to police them. These profiles were again used to delete ration cards, voters in Telangana,” Mr Kodali said.

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