Privacy is now a fundamental right.

Free Software Movement of India welcomes the unanimous ruling of the nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court declaring privacy to be a fundamental right under the Constitution. The ruling is especially important considering the fact that the reference to the bench on this matter came during hearings on the Aadhaar scheme, which the government has been forcing on the Indian people. This is despite a number of concerns from various quarters about the scheme, especially on the issues of privacy and risks to informational security.

At least two of the judges, in their comments, refer on informational security and the idea of privacy, and its relationship to data in the digital age. These are concerns which free software movements and activists across the world have been highlighting over the past many years, especially since the revelations by Edward Snowden in 2013.

This decision will also hopefully have a vital impact on debates related to aspects including personal autonomy, informational self-determination, freedom to dissent and protection from State surveillance.

Privacy is the constitutional core of human dignity, the Supreme Court observed. The true test of this historic judgement will come during further hearings on the matter of Aadhaar being mandatory for various schemes across the country, as well as for the continuation of various amenities. FSMI hopes the spirit of this judgement finds concrete application in that instance, ensuring that the scheme is not forced upon the people of the country.