Wikileaks dumps documents of Sri Lanka’s controversial E-NIC project
ECONOMYNEXT – Wikikeaks.org has released documents relating to controversial electronic citizens registration system which critics have said is the first stage of building a ‘big brother’ police state.
The tender for the controversial program, which allows the defence secretary to track citizens and get their family data without court approval, while keeping key rulers out of the system, was delayed amid controversy.
Critics have pointed out that Sri Lanka initiated the tender in 2009 to keep track of citizens in a country that was becoming increasingly militarized and authoritarian, though the law itself was passed by the current administration, whose members had earlier criticized the move.
The E-Nic citizens tracking system was originally expected to be modeled on NADRA system of Pakistan, a highly militarized country.
India, which lacked a national identity card, set up an electronic ID system to help distribute subsidies and prove identification.
In Sri Lanka similar claims were made, but they were false since the country already had a NIC.
The ID was superior in that it was not a tool for the defence secretary and others in authority to snoop on private citizens but could be tendered on the initiative of the citizens to prove their identity. (Colombo/Apr15/2019-SB)
Kithmina Hewage- Institute of Policy Studies