Linking Aadhaar with Voter ID
For Mains: Salient Features of the Representation of People’s Act.
Context of the News:
- According to the proposed amendment to the Representation of the People Act, the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) may ask those seeking to enter the voters’ list and those already enrolled to furnish their Aadhaar numbers.
- The Union Law Ministry responded positively to a request from the Election Commission seeking legal powers to resume linking of voter cards with Aadhaar numbers.
What is concern?
- Enumerating the safeguards in place to prevent “theft, interception and hijacking” of data is the biggest concern.
- What is also baffling is that no authority in India has conducted any study on security of data and the way to prohibit a security breach before linking multiple data of a billion plus people. In the present situation, once the voter’s data are shared with the biometric service providers, storage and the use of that data is their responsibility.
- There are also concerns raided by political scientists about this linking process is another scrutiny from the government, which may end up undermining privacy of citizens.
Steps taken by Election commission to ensure safety:
- At the application level, various protocols like two-factor authentication encryption algorithm communication only through https protocol, and frequent security audit of applications are ensured. Electoral roll database system does not enter into the Aadhaar ecosystem and the system is only used for the authentication purpose keeping a tight air gap between the two systems.
- At the infrastructure level, the servers are protected through multilevel security through the access control system, firewall, IPS and anti-virus. The raw data has been prohibited to be made available/ shared/ transferred/ distributed/ transmitted/ circulated to any other person.
Benefits of Linking Voter id with Aadhaar:
- Weeding out ghost voters:
- Many cases of individuals having more than one Voter ID card have been reported in the past. With the linking of Aadhaar to voter ID card, officials now will be able to get rid of bogus or multiple voter ID cards in a single individual’s name.As the Aadhaar registration requires an individual’s biometric information such as their fingerprint and iris scans, the chances of duplication is almost impossible.
- Strengthening of Democracy:
- This process will strengthen democracy, if it is limited only to voter id linking process with Aadhaar. It will remove ghost voters and gives power in the hand of actual resident of that particular place to take appropriate descion.
- Security concerns about data being misused for voter profiling and the manipulation of votes remain, as was seen in the Cambridge Analytica case when millions of Facebook accounts in the United States were used to profile voters and influence them. There are no concrete assurances from the Election Commission on this; moreover, vague statements that voters’ data would not be in the public domain and would be kept at the back end only are far from reassuring.
India slips two places on global corruption perception index
GS Paper II
Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability
Prelims: Corruption Perceptions Index
What’s the News?
India’s ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI-2019) has slipped from 78 to 80 compared to the previous year. Its score of 41 out of 100 remains the same.
Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI-2019):
- Corruption Perceptions Index is released by Transparency International.
- The index, which ranks countries and regions on their perceived levels of public sector corruption, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
Transparency International, an international non-governmental organization which is based in Berlin, Germany was founded in 1993.
Its nonprofit purpose is to take action to combat corruption and prevent criminal activities arising from corruption.
It publishes reports such as the Global Corruption Barometer.
- In democracies like India and Australia, unfair and opaque political financing, undue influence in decision-making and lobbying by powerful corporate interest groups, has resulted in stagnation or decline in the control of corruption.
- The report has revealed that a majority of countries are showing little to no improvement in tackling corruption.
- Corruption is more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.
- In the Asia Pacific region, the average score is 45, after many consecutive years of an average score of 44, which “illustrates general stagnation” across the region.
- Many countries see economic openness as a way forward, however, governments across the region, from China to Cambodia to Vietnam, continue to restrict participation in public affairs, silence dissenting voices and keep decision-making out of public scrutiny.
Recommended measures to combat corruption:
- Manage conflicts of interest
- Control political financing
- Strengthen electoral integrity
- Regulate lobbying activities
- Empower citizens
- Tackle preferential treatment
- Reinforce checks and balances
- Keeping big money out of politics is essential to ensuring political decision-making serves the public interest and curbing opportunities for corrupt deals.
- Countries that perform well on the CPI have strong enforcement of campaign finance regulations.