Consider this illustration of a research program that would help us truly overcome these obstacles: “How do we make these public goods (for example, Aadhar) more effective and fair?”
- What kind of impact does access to Aadhar/UPI have on productivity?
- How does adoption of these public goods affect social indicators across different groups?
⚖️ Legal Theory
- How does Aadhar intersect with existing legal frameworks, such as data protection laws, constitutional protections, and human rights law, and what are the implications of these intersections?
- How do different legal theories conceptualise the relationship between biometric data and identity?
- How do different communities perceive, adopt and resist Aadhaar in their everyday lives?
- How has the Aadhar program been integrated into India’s broader system of governance, and what challenges have arisen as a result?
- Is the current formulation of Aadhar compatible with the principles of individual autonomy and consent?
- What are the ethical implications of using Aadhar for purposes beyond identity verification, such as surveillance or marketing?
🖥️ Computer Science and Technology
- Are all possible use-cases of Aadhar robust to false authentications and inappropriate exclusion? Have all possible threats been mapped out?
- Are the software engineering practices used by the UIDAI up-to-date?
- How can we assess the efficacy of Aadhar-based de-duplication?
🏛️ Political Science
How has the Aadhar program impacted the relationship between the state and its citizens in terms of accountability and transparency?
Each discipline has a critical perspective to offer. But note that:
🧩 These are a non exhaustive set of illustrations for one of many digital public goods deployed at scale today.
➕ A comprehensive program would contain more questions from
each discipline + points of intersection + other public goods.
🤝 These investigations will benefit from each other and together help us address challenges to at-scale digitisation.