Monday, July 16, 2012
A Project to Fingerprint 1.2 Billion People
Imagine creating a system to track 1.2 billion people, photographing them, fingerprintingthem, cataloging them and giving them all IDs.
Nandan Nilekani is not just imagining that system. He is tasked with making it a reality in India.
Nilekani is the chairman of India's Unique Identification Authority. Nilekani's previous claim to fame was as one of the founders of Infosys, India's pioneering technology firm. He recently talked to Fareed Zakaria on Sunday's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" show. Here’s an edited version of their conversation, which can also be viewed by downloading the entire show on iTunes.
ZAKARIA: So you are taking India's entire population, which previously had rarely been counted, and you are going to try and give every single person a biometric ID.
NILEKANI: That's right. We have enrolled 200 million people in the last three years since the project began. And we are using the biometrics to give them a unique number so that they don't end up having more than one number. So we're taking people, many of whom have no ID whatsoever, and taking them to the digital world. So it's like a leapfrogging of identity.
ZAKARIA: So why is this so important for India? What one hears about it is that these people are supposed to get loans, or grants or various things from the government.
(Here’s the irrefutable, in-your-face description of the Beast’s system of tracking and engaging every person in order to control and measure commerce and life!
I am also adding the Scripture reference from Revelation 13:16-18:
6 He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. 17 And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. 18 Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.) *I have included the entire text of Revelation 13 below.
NILEKANI: We still have millions of people who don't have a formal identity or acknowledgement of their existence by the state. And unless you have a formal acknowledgement or existence you can't get a bank account or a loan. You can't get a mobile phone. You can't get your entitlements. You can't get a job. You can't rent a house.
(Dear Church of the Living God, can I make it ANY clearer?! Here, in front of you, now, IS THE MARK OF THE BEST!! The closing moments of this dispensation are ticking away! How are YOU then living?!)
So everything is linked to your basic identity. In some sense you can think of as a massive inclusion program to get the poor, and the marginalized and the identity-less into the formal economy. So that's one part of it.
By having this ID system we can make sure that people's scholarships, pensions,employment guarantee schemes all direct to the right person, either into the bank account or whatever account. So it both makes government expenditure more efficient, effective and equitable, and it's a massive inclusion exercise.
ZAKARIA: How difficult is it? How much more difficult is it to deal with the bureaucracies? Or which is worse, the bureaucratic obstacles or political obstacles?
NILEKANI: The amount of time you are to invest in evangelizing and consensus building is hugely more in the public space. And crafting a strategy which is sort of acceptable to everybody really takes a great deal of time. And that's where the big difference to me between the two worlds.
REVELATION 13: 1-18
New Living Translation (NLT)
The Beast out of the Sea
13 Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. 2 This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority.
3 I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. 4 They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshiped the beast. “Who is as great as the beast?” they exclaimed. “Who is able to fight against him?”
5 Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. 6 And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. 8 And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made—the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered.
9 Anyone with ears to hear
should listen and understand.
10 Anyone who is destined for prison
will be taken to prison.
Anyone destined to die by the sword
will die by the sword.
This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful.
The Beast out of the Earth
11 Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon. 12 He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 He did astounding miracles, even making fire flash down to earth from the sky while everyone was watching. 14 And with all the miracles he was allowed to perform on behalf of the first beast, he deceived all the people who belong to this world. He ordered the people to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life. 15 He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die.
16 He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. 17 And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. 18 Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.