The hue and cry over the National Register of Citizens and the Citizenship Amendment Act wasn’t over yet when the government planned to add another thing on their plate.

The announcement of the National Population Register this week has raised many eyebrows and why not, when after all, they are calling it the first step towards NRC.

While reading the government notification, I found a thing or two that were derogatory to my right to privacy. 

What Is Right to Privacy?

I think you would agree if I say that everyone wants to protect what is theirs. This is exactly the concept of Right to Privacy. A newly recognised right, this fundamental right gives the liberty to every person to be in full control of their personal information, be it in physical or virtual form.

The right also states that no one shall be allowed to access or distribute this information without the prior approval of the owner.

What Right to Privacy Has To Do With NPR?

For brevity, NPR means National Population Register. According to government reports, the register will seek the biometrics of the Indian population. It is going to be India’s largest biometric database which would include the face, fingerprint and iris recognition.

Here comes the role of privacy. A person’s personal information includes his biometrics and forms an important part of a person’s identity. It is pertinent to mention here that identity theft is not a farfetched concept in India anymore. 

A single database of the biometrics of over 1 billion people makes it a treasure for those who want to steal data and in the digital world, breaking into the data resources isn’t a difficult task. Also, it is not so that the access of the same would be limited to only one or two entities, which increases the risk of data leakage.

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How Does NPR Breach My Privacy?

I am well aware of the fact that all the rights given to a citizen come with reasonable restrictions and the same includes the process established by law. The government claims that this register is important for India and thus, the breach of privacy is justified but I beg to differ because of the following reasons:-

Why Do We Need This When We Have Aadhaar And Census?

Aadhaar is an instrument which is already in place in India. The motive of Aadhaar was to provide a unique identity number to every citizen so that the dealings between the government and the citizens can become easy and smooth. 

During the making of Aadhaar, the Indians gave their biometrics and other required information to fetch the benefits attached which makes it an appropriate database.

As far as ascertaining the population is concerned, the same can be done by the regular procedure of the Census. By combining Aadhaar data and the data obtained through the Census, the desired database can be created. I cannot comprehend the reason behind this unnecessary hardship.

Lack of Consent

Consent to give information plays a vital role in the right to privacy. However, looking at the fact that NPR is being connected with NRC, not a lot of people are going to support this move of the government which means that consent is missing here.

When consent is not there, how can the government force the citizens to give up a right which they are naturally entitled to?

Safety Of Data

Before NPR, Aadhaar was aimed at collecting the biometrics of the Indian citizens however; it failed miserably when reports of leakage of data surfaced.

In 2018, the security of thousands of people was compromised when the world got to know about the Aadhaar data breach. The data given for Aadhaar was available on search engines for access. This breach was not only done by third parties but also by the government websites that held the duty to safeguard such data.

By bringing another such database containing confidential information, do we need to prepare for another breach of data?

This only time will tell. However, my Right to Privacy is being given the least importance by the government and the actions of the state are making it pretty evident. 

Image Source: Google Image

Sources: Business Standard, The Print, Money Life

Find The Blogger At: @innocentlysane

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