Supreme Court raises questions on Aadhaar based on Facebook fiasco

The Supreme Court flagged the threat of probable influence of voters in the upcoming 2019 elections using citizen information collected through Aadhaar.

The recent Facebook fiasco has made even the Supreme Court skeptical and alert in India. During the ongoing hearing on the validation of Aadhaar, the Supreme Court flagged the threat of probably influencing the voters in the upcoming elections 2019 using citizen information collected through Aadhaar. Information collected through Aadhaar is used by various entities for authentication purposes.

The five member bench referred to the ongoing Facebook-Cambridge Analytica controversy and said concerns on data privacy are not “imaginary apprehensions”. The Court further added that in the absence of a data protection law, the issue of misuse of information becomes relevant.

“The real apprehension is that elections are swayed using data analytics. These problems are symptomatic of the world we live in,” said the bench, also comprising justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan as reported by Mint.

However, Unique Identification Authority of India(UIDAI) denied the possibility, saying that they do not have a learning algorithm. 
“Please do not bring Cambridge Analytica into this. The UIDAI simply does not have the learning algorithms like Facebook or Google to analyse details of users,” said senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi appearing for UIDAI.

He further added that UIDAI just has only simple matching algorithms which give answers like ‘yes’ or ‘no’ after it receives a request for Aadhaar authentication from a requesting entity. The advocate also argued that the UIDAI approves an entity to request unless it is satisfied that the particular entity needs to use the facility of authentication.

The Facebook- Cambridge Analytica imbroglio: A background

Facebook has been having a rough month, after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that worked with US President Donald Trump’s election team, collected millions of Facebook profiles, said to be one of the biggest ever data breaches in Facebook's history.

The statistics released by Facebook said about 87 million profiles were breached, out of which around 562,455 were of Indians. Around 70,632,350 profiles of US citizens were compromised and was given to Trump's political consultants for benefiting in 2016 elections.