Abstract: This seminar is about the cultural roots of India’s biometric ID project, which contains the details of over a billion people, and is the basis of a complex surveillance architecture. For the past six years, Rahul Bhatia has conducted several hundred interviews with systems architects, political leaders, lawyers, activists, social service organisations, historians, and many others as part of his investigation into the surprising ideas and impulses behind India’s extraordinary welfare delivery platform. Come for the technology, stay for the history. These findings are from his upcoming narrative non-fiction book, The Identity Project, which will be published in 2025 by Little, Brown.
Speakers and Presenters
Rahul Bhatia is the 2022-23 Lisa Goldberg Fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute. His profiles of power brokers and investigations of technology adoption highlight themes of accountability and access in India; his reportage has been published by the New Yorker, the Guardian, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters Investigates, Foreign Policy, Caravan, Quartz, and the Association for Computing Machinery.He is a co-founder of the Peepli Project, a journalism non-profit focused on development. Rahul also mentors South Asian writers and journalists as a member of the South Asia Speaks collective. In 2016, he received the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award and the Red Ink Award for his investigative profiles. Formerly an art director, Rahul has a degree in communication design from Pratt Institute, New York.Lisa Goldberg Fellow, Harvard Radcliffe Institute
WCFIA & GSAS