Privacy concerns around the National Registry of Persons

The Hindu reported on Advocata fellow's concerns about the National Registry of Persons, a central database of citizen data, including family information that's part of Sri Lankan government's E-NIC program.  

From the Hindu:

Just as it appeared ready to part with more information through the RTI Act, the government was gearing up to demand more information from the people, through the Electronic-NIC, with family details and fingerprints as biometrics. For many within the government and outside, the E-NIC is merely an effort to “establish identity of Sri Lankan citizens using modern technology”, as the Department of Registration of Persons puts it. They see the initiative as neither an aberration nor a surprise, given the government’s known thrust on technology. This is a government that is talking about replacing school textbooks with tablets.

But for others, such a centrally-managed electronic database foretells serious risks around privacy and security. Observing that the authorities would have “virtually unrestricted access to any information concerning any citizen recorded with any public authority,” R. Ratnasabapathy of Advocata, a Colombo-based policy think tank, petitioned the Supreme Court after the government gazetted the new regulations in August. “Apart from threatening citizens’ right to privacy, such a database will enable mass surveillance,” he says.

Seen through a legal lens, the E-NIC coming into operation appears particularly dangerous in Sri Lankan jurisdiction as the country does not have a Data Protection Act, according to Samantha de Soysa, a lawyer working on privacy law. “This is a human right and Sri Lanka has clearly dismissed the importance of the violation of our data,” she argues

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Advocata collaborates with Yamu to calculate tax on your cake -- it's 35%

Advocata collaborated with food media website Yamu to produce this video that calculate the tax of a butter cake. The calculations are elaborated on our interactive page

This is to highlight the high impact of import tariffs on everyday food items and how much of the import tax forms as a proportion of the sales price.