Reform Aadhaar and not arrest journalists: Edward Snowden tells Modi

Reform Aadhaar and not arrest journalists: Edward Snowden tells Modi

Reform Aadhaar and not arrest journalists: Edward Snowden tells Modi

U.S. whistle-blower Edward Snowden on Tuesday asserted that the Indian journalist who was able to expose the Aadhaar data breach should be given an award not an investigation for her research.

In response to Khaira's story, the Unique Identification Authority (UIDAI), which oversees the biometric program sent a letter to the Tribune's editor saying, "It is the UIDAI's position that there was absolutely no access to the biometric details (i.e. fingerprints and iris scans) of any individual whatsoever on the said UIDAI portal". He said that if the government was really concerned about the biometric information, then they should be working on reforming policies.

"The journalists exposing the #Aadhaar breach deserve an award, not an investigation", Snowden tweeted.

He advised the Narendra Modi government to reform the Aadhaar policy, which he said has compromised privacy of billions of people.

The UIDAI says the breach seems to be a misuse of a grievance redressal scheme that allowed Aadhaar agents to rectify issues like a change in address and wrong spelling of a person's name.

Privacy
119,22,59,062 Aadhaar Numbers 119,22,59,062 People’s Privacy At Stake

Rachna Khaira, of Chandigarh-based Indian newspaper The Tribune, revealed she was able to buy access to the personal information of almost 1.2 billion people in the Aadhaar database for just $8.

Former NSA analyst and whistleblower Edward Snowden referred to the Aadhaar programme stating that the natural tendency of any government is to desire ideal records of private lives. And if they do want to arrest someone, it should be the UIDAI.

In its reply to the minister UIDAI tweeted it is committed to the freedom of Press even inviting any constructive suggestion the newspaper had to offer. FIR is against unknown.

"We regret very much that the authorities have misconceived an honest journalistic enterprise and have proceeded to institute criminal proceedings against the whistleblower". On Sunday, UIDAI had filed an FIR with the Delhi Police cyber cell, naming "The Tribune" and its journalist for the daily's story demonstrating how admin access to Aadhaar data could be bought for as little as Rs 500.

"The Guild condemns UIDAI's action to have the Tribune reporter booked by police as it is clearly meant to browbeat a journalist whose investigation on the matter was of great public interest".

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