The potential of the project to unleash a security frenzy is the reason why privacy concerns have to be taken seriously. The government and the UIDAI have made it appear as if the purported, and unsubstantiated, benefits of “good governance” from the project eclipse the concerns regarding privacy and civil liberties. This is where the problem lies. A foundational understanding in the study of individual freedoms, pioneered by scholars like Amartya Sen, is that consequence-independent absolute rights are rather hard to defend. Hence, the demand to trade-off one freedom for another (here, the “invasive loss” of privacy for “development”) is an untenable demand.yes, the disenfranchised should learn to trade-off their 'right to live' for your 'right to privacy'.
over an year ago, i'd written about this article on the uid, here. has the theme of the 'liberal' press opposing the uid changed since then?
is the “invasive loss” of privacy really the core concern of those who oppose uid? this strident breast-beating over privacy across the media, arising mostly from fanciful speculation: why isn't there ever as much concern over the very public problems of the great majority of dalits in india? let's return to a recent news story: the dalit woman who was harassed for sharing a roti with an 'upper caste' dog. no, i'm not questioning the injustice of imposing a fine, publicly, on her for sharing a roti, privately, with a dog. that's how hindu public reacts, routinely. but how did the public institutions of the state react? she went to the local police station first, who refused to react, and was directed to an sc/st atrocities police station, who didn't act either, where she was reprimanded for feeding the dog.
at this point, most of the smart opponents of the uid would probably ask: how would uid have helped her? that's actually a not-so-smart question. because the women helped herself. she finally went to the district collector with her complaint (which action probably led to the news story). it was probably the sc/st (prevention of atrocities) act which gave her the necessary hope and courage to keep knocking at the state, repeatedly, to impel it into action. it was probably her own need to live, exist.
sunita jatav had to make her 'private' troubles public, repeatedly, to get a hearing, finally. the state needs to acknowledge her existence more readily in the future. for her, the trade-off would not be between the “invasive loss” of privacy for “development”. she'd have to trade-off patronage for autonomy.