Surveillance in the Name of Governance: Aadhaar as a Fix for Leaking Systems in India

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Many jurisdictions are employing biometric technologies to collect data about and verify the identities of social assistance recipients, with fraud prevention and cost savings serving as common justifications for doing so. This chapter explores the practices of building the infrastructure to monitor welfare beneficiaries, many of whom are vulnerable or marginalised populations. To do so, the chapter examines the Aadhaar system in India, which has issued over one billion unique identification numbers since being launched in 2010. The analysis illustrates a one-way expectation of knowledge and transparency (i.e., for citizens to disclose in order to access services), drawing attention to how nationalist agendas and forms of inequality inform who is subject to the state’s terms and conditions. In doing so, it considers how these forms of surveillance evince broader shifts in which state and non-state actors rely on knowledge to regulate subjects.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInformation, Technology and Control in a Changing World: Shifting Power Structures in the 21st Century
    Editors B Haggart, K Henne, N Tusikov
    Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
    PublisherSpringer Nature
    ISBN (Print)978-3-030-14539-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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