Apologies for the site having been down so long. First, there was a long spell of bot attacks that I could never tackle in time.
Then, there were a bunch of technical glitches. I’m up now, but for how long I can’t say. I’ll take it as it comes.
My latest preoccupation is the growing menace of biometric identification, the worst specimen of which is India’s monstrous Aadhaar card.
Aadhaar, as duly noted on this blog, has the same meaning as Al Qaeda, that is, ‘the base’..which is another word for a ‘the foundation’. But it is also a pun on a more obviously ominous word – ‘data-base.’
A data-base of human beings, that is.
These sorts of cogitations will be dismissed in the major media as conspiracy theory.
But it is nothing of the sort, to anyone who follows the day-to-day encroachment of the state on the remaining rags of privacy.
Aadhaar is exceptional in that it includes a person’s name, his/her parents’ names, a photograph, all ten finger-prints, iris scans, and a signature, all in one easily duplicated piece of paper.
Already, despite Supreme Court pronouncements to the contrary, the Indian government has demanded it for public welfare schemes, for government scholarships, for new bank accounts, for government pensions, for gas subsidies, for cell phone accounts, and now, perhaps, for income-tax filings.
Already, millions of people with Aadhaar have had all their personal and financial details leaked, for weeks and months at a time, on multiple government websites.
The implications are horrendous, by any measure. The helpless citizen is now trapped between the surveillance state and the criminal mafias, pinned down like prey, cowering between the gimlet-eyed eagle of global government overhead and the insidious snake of international crime underfoot.