Aadhaar is ultimate tool for surveillance capitalism, enables a fertile ground to establish a Orwellian state
Bill Gates joins hands with World bank to help replicate it to other developing countries to enable Aadhaar based surveillance capitalism.
American businessman turned philanthropist Bill Gates statements on Indian Aadhaar project and his interest to help world bank via Gates Foundation to replicate similar national biometric authentication systems in other developing countries and quoting 'Aadhaar project in itself has no privacy issues' has raised many discussions in the public discourse.
Let's dive deep into the statements of Bill Gates
Benefits of Aadhaar are very high for Microsoft: Microsoft is the first global company to adopt Aadhaar as authentication for its services skype-lite, linkedin, Project Sangam and few others. Aadhaar as an authenticator to Microsoft services will help it tap the newly growing internet users in largely mobile-first country who might lack email IDs (which is a essential identifier in developed countries).
Skype-lite works even on slower interenet connections, designed to meet the internet connections in developing countries and 3rd world countries. As per Microsoft, with Aadhaar integration, Skype users will be able to authenticate the identity of unknown callers in a variety of situations where identification verification is required, including job interviews, goods and property sale.
Project Sangam, on integration with Aadhaar ensurs life-long access to the platform, will help users to learn skills online and offline. Linkedin owned Lynda, which offers online courses to improve skills, India is the largest market for such courses now and
Surprisingly, Microsoft turns out to be system integrator to develop Indian govenment's MOOC platform Swayam. IT NPOs criticized contract given to US software major Microsoft for development of 'Swayam' platform as it is in "direct contrast" with the government policy on open source softwares. (https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/software/microsoft-selection-for-mhrds-swayam-violates-policy-it-npos/articleshow/55963638.cms)
Academics Data linked to Aadhaar
No surprise Bill Gates praising his dear friend Nandan Nilekani for helping corporates like Microsoft to monetize data of citizens of India and Aadhaar project which would help corporations like Microsoft instrumentalise Aadhaar based surveillance capitalism to grow their businesses.
Using Aadhaar as a bio ID verification scheme for the benefit of Corporations:
The government's desperate move by misrepresenting Supreme Court order to mandate telecom companies to use Aadhaar as a Know Your Customer (KYC) mechanism would also make phone numbers unique for each individual.
The government has begun talks with Google and Apple to allow fingerprint/biometrics Aadhaar-based authentication for users on their smartphones sold in the country which are incresingly enabling finger-print authentication at a cheaper price.
Microsoft is leading the efforts for finger-print/biometrics based authentication standardised by W3C(https://www.w3.org/2018/04/pressrelease-webauthn-fido2.html.en) and make it available on all browsers soon.
FIDO UAF(Universal Athentication Factor)
Fingerprints and IRIS are already have been attached to Aadhaar numbers, Face recognition will be enabled from July. Seems voice recognition also gets attached to Aadhaar data repositories.
Behind the screens:
Gates Foundation, a role model for philanthro-capitalism and known for its ideological commitment to promote neoliberal economic policies and corporate globalisation, now focuses on funding World bank to replicate Aadhaar-style surveillance systems to other developing countries to take surveillance capitalism a step ahead.
Entities like Gates Foundation invests and nurtures institutions which promote their neoliberal policies to gain increase the control over market and reduce states role in it. They make friendly relationships with state, sell surveillance to govt in exchange for business-friendly regulatory policies. They work closely with the state and make strong ties and work towards eventually reducing the role of state. They would even go to an extent of killing constitutional institutions (Parliaments, Judiciary), threaten/buy media, harass protesters (Twitter trolling is least of all), Hijack elections, undermine democracy.
Fight against Aadhaar is not just about right to privacy and data protection law. It's about saving democratic fabric of our country by not allowing these greedy corporations and philanthro-capitalists hijacking them to create unaccountable private structures replacing existing accountable constitutional bodies.