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What is Aadhar Project for Social Security Benefits?

The Unique Identification project (also known as the Aadhar project) implemented in India completed the demographic and biometric data collection of more than 500 million people earlier this week. It is also the largest in the world today, a biometrics project.


The Aadhar plan has been implemented for many years and has been accompanied by criticism from privacy and security protection groups. This project's progress this week has made the outside world full of concerns about the methods of capturing, storing and managing data, and the participation of the American company MongoDB.


MongoDB is a NoSQL database-based startup that last year received an investment from In-Q-Tel, which is inextricably linked to the CIA. In-Q-Tel is an independent non-profit venture capital organization supported by the CIA and other US intelligence agencies.


Aadhaar Data Leakage

In the past few days, multiple Indian media have quoted their own political parties and activists as questioning whether sensitive data in the Aadhar project has been leaked. This project is currently sponsored by Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani ) leadership. Some reports also linked this controversy to MongoDB.


PRISM Plan of US National Security Agency (NSA)

Governments around the world have raised concerns about the "Prism" plan implemented by the US National Security Agency (NSA). Anything that is incompatible with US government intelligence agencies is enough to cause uproar.

In addition, as India will hold general elections next year, political-related arguments have reached an unprecedented level in history.


The timing of the above accusations may not be worse, at least for the ambitious identification project Aadhar:

A bill related to the project is currently being approved by the Indian Parliament. Once passed, it will become a complete Constitutional institutions.

A journalist visited the Aadhar office in Bangalore, India sometime ago. According to an official interviewed by me, the truth of the whole thing also surfaced:

Although some people accused the contract of including clauses for sharing data with MongoDB.

In fact Aadhar only used MongoDB's open source code does not involve sensitive data. This trip to Bangalore also gave journalist the opportunity to learn about the operating mechanism of the larger biometric database on the planet and how to deal with security and privacy concerns.


In addition, the Unique Identification Authority of India (hereinafter referred to as UIDAI) also refuted the Aadhar project's allegation of sharing Indian citizen data with US intelligence agencies.

What does Aadhar mean for India?

If you want to understand the reasons for the implementation of the Aadhar plan and what this project means for a country like India, let’s first understand the relevant background.

More than 500 million people in India do not have an official identification (ID), which has caused a series of problems, such as their inability to obtain government assistance, open bank accounts, apply for loans, obtain driver's licenses, and so on.

The Aadhar project is currently entering the data of Indian citizens at a rate of 1 million people per day. It is expected that approximately 1.2 billion people will be entered by the end of next year, thus becoming the largest biometric database on Earth.


The greater advantage of having a 12-digit Aadhar number is that the government can link bank accounts to the poor and directly transfer cash proceeds and other subsidies to their bank accounts. Currently, India has nearly 40 million bank accounts connected to Aadhar data.


Social Security Adhaar

Statistics from the market research agency CLSA show that the Indian government has specially arranged subsidies and other benefits amounting to US $ 250 billion for its poor people, of which more than 40% will be embezzled by relevant personnel in the next few years.

The Aadhar project will eliminate the intermediate link in the process of subsidizing the poor, and will directly hit cash into the bank accounts of people who need government subsidies, thereby curbing corruption.


However, some think tanks and activists have always expressed concerns about the privacy issues of the Aadhar project and even questioned the effectiveness of the entire project, including the Centre for Internet & Society in Bangalore.

Enter the world's largest biometric database

Journalists have tried many times to meet with Aadhar project officials to understand the project’s security issues, progress, and their reactions to MongoDB data sharing disputes.


On Friday, they finally agreed to meet a journalist at the Aadhar project headquarters in the southern suburbs of Bangalore. Intel and Cisco India headquarters are also located in the area.

From the outside, the Aadhar Technology Center, which stores the data of all citizens in India (currently totaling 5PB), does not look like a government building at all, but it misleads people into thinking that it is a nearby Intel or Cisco office building.

In the Aadhar project headquarters, when the journalist walked into a room with more than a dozen TV screens in a central location, he saw several young engineers in their early twenties sitting in excitement. They were continually tapping on the computer keyboard numbers or letters, the activity of querying data packets that store information, the entire scene looked like an advanced control center.


These data packets (each with a capacity of about 5MB) are displayed on the TV screen. This process starts from their loading in 30,000 entry centers across India and undergoes at least three verifications of information.

The verification process includes double verification of each personal file to ensure that the same person will not have more than two Aadhar numbers.


Therefore, every time a new personal file is created, a "de-duplication" check must be performed on all existing files. This number has now exceeded 500 million.


Former Intel engineer Srikanth Nadhamuni (Srikanth Nadhamuni) helped develop the Aadhar technology platform in September 2010 and he is currently the head of Khosla Lab in Bangalore.

Nadhamny told me that these data packets have been processed through 2048-bit encrypted storage. Once someone tries to access the data without authorization, they can all destroy themselves.

How to deal with MongoDB dispute

Why did Aadhar cooperate with MongoDB from the beginning? Will this cooperation continue? Sudhir Narayana, assistant director general of the Aadhar Technology Center, told me that MongoDB is just one of the many products initially selected by the Aadhar project to handle database searches.

Others include MySQL, Hadoop and HBase. Unlike MySQL, which can only store demographic data, MongoDB can also store image data.


However, after realizing that MongoDB could not process millions of data packets, Aadhar gradually transferred most of the related database work to the MySQL platform. At present, they are already using "database sharding" (database sharing) technology:

Store data packets on different machines to ensure that the system will not suddenly crash when the amount of data increases.


This approach helped the Aadhar project reduce its dependence on MongoDB, while switching to the MySQL platform to store most of the data. Ashok Dalwai, deputy director general of Aadhar Technology Center, told me that MongoDB cannot access any biometric data.

"We believe that the use of open source technology can avoid the situation of completely relying on a certain manufacturer, but this does not mean that we will make a slight compromise in security," Darvay said.


After journalists got in touch with MongoDB, the company spokesperson gave this statement link to let us understand its relationship with In-Q-Tel.


More importantly, Indian UIDAI started using the company ’s open source software long before MongoDB received funding from In-Q-Tel. As Crunchbase data shows, MongoDB received a total of $ 7.7 million in venture capital from three companies including Red Hat, Intel Ventures, and In-Q-Tel in 2012.

What is the future prospect of the Aadhar project?

The officials said that despite the controversy surrounding this project, Aadhar is still moving towards the goal of entering data for more than 1.2 billion Indian citizens in 2014. This effort will eventually create a database of 15PB.



Currently, the Aadhar project is entering personal identification information at a rate of 1 million people per day. Narayana told me that he believes that the entry speed will increase to about 2 million people per day starting next year, thus achieving the goal of entering the remaining 700 million people into the database more quickly.

World's Largest Biometric Indian Database triggers privacy war

There is a lot that we should know about privacy matters as it is very dangerous to be ignorant. We need to understand it from global perspective as the agenda is the same and we need to know it as a whole in order to know it at all. The Atlantic published an article saying that India's largest biometric database, Aadhaar, triggered a privacy war. As the country’s biometric identity project, Aadhaar’s original intention was to help the government solve many social problems and simplify the process of government service provision. But its actual results were not ideal, and it did not help the many groups the government wanted to help There have been multiple incidents of information leaks, which have caused the already vulnerable people to suffer even more.


Largest Biometric Database in the World, Aadhaar

In 2009, the Indian government launched a new identity project that later became the world's largest biometric database, when the move did not attract much attention abroad.

The project is called Aadhaar and collects names, addresses, mobile phone numbers, and possibly more important fingerprints, photos, and iris scans of more than 1 billion people.

In the process, Aadhaar penetrated almost every aspect of Indian people's daily lives, from going to school to going to the hospital to see a doctor, to going to the bank to obtain financial services. It can be said to open a path for data collection that has never been seen before on scale.


Social Security Number Aadhaar Number

The Indian government considers Aadhaar to be an important solution to many social problems, but in the eyes of critics, it is a step towards national surveillance. Today, the Aadhaar experiment faces a serious threat from the Indian Supreme Court-a threat that may be related to its survival.

Supreme Court Order on Biometric Database

At the end of August, the Supreme Court of India issued a consistency judgment, for the first time in the Indian Constitution, the basic right to privacy was identified. The decision was supported by Aadhaar opponents who believed that the project was contrary to the newly granted rights.

Soon, the Supreme Court will focus on this issue. If they find that Aadhaar violates the right to privacy, the legislator will need to reconsider the entire project. But if the Supreme Court decides that the project is in conformity with the Constitution, Aadhaar, who has been trapped in vision and ambition, will continue to develop.


The original intention of the Biometric Database Project

When the Indian government first launched Aadhaar, it saw the opportunity to use the country's vibrant technology industry to reduce corruption and simplify the process of providing government services.

Before Aadhaar arrived, the government said it was suffering from welfare project management issues. The government lost millions of dollars each year because Indian residents used pseudonyms or used their own name registration system to obtain more benefits.

Privacy and Biometric Databases

With Aadhaar, it becomes easier and easier for residents to get benefits by touching the fingerprint scanner. If the fingerprint matches the archived fingerprint, the system will approve and issue benefits.

When the system works well, the entire process is as smooth as unlocking the iPhone, ensuring that government benefits only fall into the hands of qualified people.

 Biometric Database of Public Benefits?

The Aadhaar project is open to all Indian residents. At the beginning, it was voluntary. Only a few government subsidies were provided, including food subsidies and LPG subsidies for cooking and cooking.

It is aimed at those who need these resources most, especially those rural residents who cannot open bank accounts or participate in original welfare projects because they do not have official ID cards.


In India, Aadhaar can hardly live without registration

But gradually, the mission of the project deviated. Under the leadership of Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of outsourcing company Infosys, Aadhaar was used to apply data-driven improvements to various public and private industry services.

Aadhaar will soon be associated with a large number of activities, so that without registering Aadhaar now, it is almost impossible to live in India.

Participation in the project has become or is about to become a must-have option, because paying taxes, opening a bank account, obtaining school lunches in Uttar Pradesh, buying train tickets online, accessing some public WiFi networks, participating in universal health insurance services in Karnataka, Aadhaar is required for daily activities such as various benefits.

The member of the Indian Parliament, Jairam Ramesh, ridiculed the project as "compulsory voluntary participation".


The government agency in charge of managing Aadhaar declined to comment, but Ajay Bhushan Pandey, the CEO of Indian Express, said in the article that the project has been in the past two years. Saved about 8 billion US dollars for the government (the World Bank estimates that this number is close to 1 billion US dollars a year.) Pandi said the project has successfully improved the government's ability to reach and serve people directly.


Did not help many people who wanted to help

However, for the many groups that Aadhaar aims to help especially the poor and those in underserved areas. Technology has not yet met their expectations and has not helped them.

In a country with a low Internet penetration rate outside a large city, remote towns do not have good network conditions, so people cannot access the central database to verify their fingerprint information.

Some participants in the Aadhaar project said that their satellite network services are only available when it is cloudy; some people say that the network is easy to use when the weather is clear.


According to the analysis of government data by Reetika Khera, an economics professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, millions of people have not been able to receive government benefits due to the implementation of Aadhaar.

In some cases, it is because those elderly or disabled have difficulty walking and cannot go to the service site to verify their identity.

The situation of other people who do manual work is that their fingerprints have suffered through years of arduous manual work and cannot be scanned accurately, so they cannot pass the system verification and receive no food assistance.


Nikhil Dey, one of the founders of grass-roots organization Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, also studied government data. He found that in Rajasthan, due to Aadhaar, about 1 million people were unfairly removed from the government’s food assistance list, and more than 3 million people could not receive the specified food quota.

Dai said that in a region, 1,350 out of about 2,900 people were inappropriately marked as "dead" or "duplicate status", so they could not receive pensions.


Privacy Concerns of Biometric Database

Despite these implementation challenges, the most terrifying part of the Aadhaar project for privacy advocates is that it is ubiquitous, but security protection is very loose. According to technical engineer Anand Venkatanarayanan, when biometric information is used to access a service through Aadhaar, such as buying a new mobile phone, the service provider will obtain the demographic data (name, address, and mobile phone number) of the purchaser, and the government will obtain Metadata-that is, the date and time of the transaction, the form of identity verification used, and which company to conduct the transaction with.

This information can be used to paint vague but private and long-term portraits of users, so it has raised concerns about government surveillance and private company misuse of private information.


There is a core fear of people: the project may turn a person's identity into a prisoner

There has been a lot of evidence that personal privacy information has been misused. Cases that have received much attention in the past few months have been frequently reported: 210 government agencies have disclosed the full name, address and Aadhaar number of the beneficiary of the welfare.

Aadhaar information of 110 million users has been leaked from the telecommunications company Reliance Jio (the company claims that those leaked data is untrue).

Bank accounts and Aadhaar details of more than 100 million people were leaked through a specific public government portal.

The government’s electronic hospital database was compromised and Aadhaar’s confidential information was accessed.


These data breaches may hurt the already vulnerable groups the most. Apar Gupta, a lawyer who questioned Aadhaar’s team in the Supreme Court, was particularly concerned about the Dalits (formerly “untouchables” in the caste hierarchy) and manual scavengers (in the absence of security protection) Migrant workers who enter the sewer for manual cleaning).

This is a dangerous occupation with a high mortality rate, and it will bring great social stigma. Gupta is worried that Aadhaar will always shame these people because it allows future employers, schools, banks and new people to view their database information and judge them based on their socioeconomic status.

Social mobility in India may become more difficult. Concealing personal privacy such as pregnancy, a history of transsexual surgery, and failing grade eight exams will also become more difficult. Among the many objections to Aadhaar, there is a core fear: the project may turn a person's identity into a prisoner.


Human Rights and Privacy regarding Biometric Databases

The Indian Supreme Court’s decree on August 24 seems to address these concerns, stating that privacy is essential for individuals to live a normal life in society. "Privacy ensures that human beings can protect their hearts from harmful intrusion by the outside world and lead a dignified life." Judge Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud wrote.

When making the judgment, the Supreme Court rejected two verdicts that rejected the right to privacy in the 1950s and 1960s, and concluded that privacy is a "fundamental" right that must be fully understood in the Internet era. The judge also cited international laws on privacy from the United States, Canada, South Africa and the European Union to emphasize this view.


In this regard, Mishi Choudhary, legal director of the Free Software Law Center, was not surprised. He pointed out, "We are at a stage where technology is sweeping the entire planet in almost the same way. Many countries are referring to each other to get guidance on how to adjust their legal systems to the modern world."



In the past few years, Russia, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria have all been interested in the Aadhaar project. According to reports, representatives from Tanzania, Afghanistan and Bangladesh recently visited India and wanted to learn more about how to implement the Aadhaar system for their country. The Indian Supreme Court is preparing to hold another hearing on Aadhaar, and the world will follow closely.

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Geographical Location and Environment in India

The geographical location of India is really good. It is surrounded by water on one side and mountains on the other. It has various enviable ports (deep water, non-freezing), sufficient sunshine, and three crops a year. As long as there is no major natural disaster, this land. The output of food on the planet can be enjoyed by half of the world. Although India is currently polarized, the rich are extremely poor, and the poor are having trouble eating, but it cannot deny the superiority of the geographical environment.

Food and Health in India

The main Indian food is curry and flying cake, which appear on almost every table. According to people who have been to India, the Indian local flying cake is very delicious. Curry foods can look a little weird, but they taste good too. If you don’t count on having a stomach trouble after eating, these foods can be said to be delicious. The hygiene of Indian cities is not good, it looks very dirty, especially the Ganges River, which is most proud of Indians. This water area called "Holy River" is considered to wash the soul and cure. Although the sick water of all kinds is full of corrupted livestock carcasses and the water is rotten and stinky, some people will still take a bath or even drink it directly.

To what extent is the Ganges water polluted?

According to the World Health Organization, the safe quantity of E. coli per 100 milliliters of river water is 500 units, and the amount of Ganges water exceeds 100,000 units, which is 200 times higher. There was a Japanese tourist who did not believe in evil. After drinking Ganges water, he had diarrhea and dehydration, and had to be sent to the hospital for rescue.

Sanitation and Traveling in India

Poor sanitation in India is also reflected in toileting. Last year, there was a movie specifically responding to this problem called "Toilet Heroes", which elaborated on the ignorance of the bottom people in India. The public believes that building a toilet in the home and discharging sewage to the land surrounding the house will cause disasters. In the early hours of the morning, as described in the movie, hordes of women traveled to the field easily. Each of them holds a small pot of water, which is not for drinking, but to wash their hands afterwards. Because India wipes with his left hand after pooping, he should bring water to wash in time. The combination of dark woods and bare-ass women has led to rapes everywhere in India.

If we travel to India, learn to grab them by hand when eating, remember to use the right hand, because the local traditional left hand cannot touch food (only when eating).

Indians generally believe in Hinduism. Doctrine divides people into five categories: superior Brahman, Kshatriya, medium Vaisha, lower Sudra, and Dalit, the lowest-ranking person who does not even have a level. According to Indian mythology, after the death of the "primitive", the mouth became Brahman, the arms became Kshatriya, the thighs became the barks, the feet became the Sudra, and Dalit was not the original body part at all. This is the famous "caste system". Although the current system has been abolished, the concepts that exist in people's minds are deeply entrenched and can be said to exist in name only. Among them, Brahman is a monk and aristocrat and has the right to interpret religion. Kshatriya is composed of military and administrative aristocracy, and is a national political and economic decision maker. Vaishya and Sudhara are both low-level practitioners. Dalit can only do such lowly jobs as digging and scrubbing. The caste system severely constrains social development, it solidifies the class, and people at the bottom lose the confidence to be motivated.

Living environment of India and division of government administration

 India used to be a British colony and became independent and became a Commonwealth country after World War II. Therefore, the political system is similar to that of Britain, and it is a parliamentary system. The difference is that Britain is nominally the head of state, while India is the president. Yes, you read that right. The Indian President, like the Prime Minister of Japan and the Queen of England, is a mascot.

When it comes to the election year, the parliament and the state (province) legislatures first elect members, and then members vote for the president. Congress is divided into the upper house (Federal House) and the lower house (People's House). The upper and lower houses are not the same as the United States Senate and House of Representatives. The lower house, that is, the people's house, is elected every five years. The party leader who wins eventually becomes the new government prime minister, responsible for forming the cabinet. As the head of state and first citizen, the President will appoint the Prime Minister (whether he wants it or not). 

Prime Minister's Work

The Prime Minister's work is accountable to the people's house that elected him, and has nothing to do with the President. India's constitution stipulates that the president has the right to dissolve the people's house, which also seems to restrict the power of the prime minister. But there is also a rule that the President must issue instructions on the advice of the Prime Minister. If the president says he is unhappy and wants to dismiss the People's House for re-election, the prime minister can "advise" him to withdraw the order, and the president's signature will be worthless.

After the emerging of the Prime Minister, he will propose candidates for Cabinet members, ministers and ministers of state, and recommend appointments to the President. These cabinet members and ministers are collectively responsible to the people's house. If any of these ministers is impeached for wrongdoing, and the Congress passes the no-confidence case, then the cabinet and all ministers will resign in total, and none of them can be left. This is the Indian government's continuous sitting system.

Ministers of government are divided into three levels of leadership: cabinet minister, minister of state and deputy minister. The four most important ministries of the Interior, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Finance are all cabinet ministries, and of course there are other departments at the same level, which are not listed one by one. Taking the Ministry of National Defense as an example, the Ministry of Defense Production and Supply, the Ministry of National Defense Technology Development, and the Ministry of National Defense Finance belong to the Ministry of State. It is a bit like the relationship between the ministries and commissions of the State Council and the departments and bureaus.

Ordinary people who want to run for the House of Representatives or the House of Representatives need to meet three main conditions: Indian nationality, 25 years of age and above, and no illegal behavior. If anyone breaks the law, their election will be barred by law within five years, which is equivalent to China's deprivation of political rights. It is just that China has a serious plot, and the number of years of deprivation is uncertain. India is fixed at five years, which is actually a campaign cycle.

In the People's House election, candidates need to pay a considerable security deposit. If they cannot be elected because of insufficient votes, the security deposit will not be refunded, which hinders the participation of the poor at the bottom. There is also the need for candidates to announce their property and education status, so that some people with low academic qualifications and unclear financial resources can also consciously retreat outside.

Geographical Location Environment India or Indian Continent

Indian Provinces and Territories

The country is divided into 27 states (provinces), 6 federal territories, and 1 national capital jurisdiction. Although India has no territory in Antarctica, there are two scientific research bases, namely Dakshin Gangotri and Maitri. In a broad sense, these two places are also classified as administrative divisions. Here is a question for everyone. Does this capital area refer to New Delhi? I won't say the answer first, let's look down.

Below the state (province), there are four-tier institutions, and some are five-tier institutions. The four-tier institutions are: state, county, city (township), village (town); the five-tier institutions are state, district, county, city (township), and village (town). For example, West Bengal, India's third largest state, its capital is Kolkata County. Below Kolkata, there are 72 cities (townships) and 527 villages (towns). This is a typical four-level institution.

The six federal territories are the Andaman-Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra-Nagar Haveli, Dammam-Diou, Local Governance, and Raksha Islands. Federal Territory managers are not elected locally. Instead, the federal government appoints "administrators", which is different from states (provinces). The highest leader of a state (province) is called the chief minister, not the governor or governor.

Which city will become a federal territory does not mean that its population or economy can be transformed from an ordinary city when it reaches a certain amount, but that it is generated for historical reasons. From the six federal territories introduced above, it can be seen that the loose area of ​​the archipelago is not suitable for local elections, and it is more convenient for the government to directly manage it. Chandigarh is not only a federal territory, but also the capital of Punjab and Haryana. It ranks 7th in the Indian economy. In other words, Chandigarh has a very high economic and political status. It's a bit like a municipality in our country. But it is in the same camp as the archipelago, and the image has become different.

Now answer the previous question about whether New Delhi is a national capital district. The answer is no. Although New Delhi is the capital, it belongs to Delhi, and Delhi is the national capital district. They are an old Delhi.

Indian Continent Geography Politics and National Flag

Finally, to summarize the main administrative divisions of India:

Cabinet (Council of Ministers) → Cabinet Department → Ministry of State

State → County → City (Township) → Village (Town)

State → Prefecture → County → City (Township) → Village (Town)

India's relationship with China is very delicate. As the top two countries in the world in terms of population and both belong to ancient civilizations, India has always regarded China as a potential competitor. In the military and aerospace science and technology industries, it currently lags far behind China, and it is estimated that it will not catch up in a short time. However, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is very developed, and their generic drugs (say, they are cottage products) are cheap and the efficacy is first-class. 

Indian National Civil Service Examination Editors Discussion

India's civil service exams are called the hardest in the world, and in addition to being highly competitive, the exams are also surprisingly difficult. India holds a national civil service exam once a year. Candidates need to pass three levels to become a civil servant. The three exams involve astronomy and geography and take a year. Once hired as a civil servant, it means lifetime benefits. Indian civil servants specifically refer to middle and senior officials who have certain decision-making power in the government. There are only about 7,000 civil servants in India. Favorable treatment and high social status are the main reasons for Indians to apply for civil servants, which makes the examination difficult.
There is a foreign joke about India: God gave a piece of land most suitable for human life, and later regretted it, so Indians were put on this land.

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