Aadhaar
Edward Snowden also hit out at UIDAI, urging the government to arrest those responsible rather than the journalist who investigated the Aadhaar data breach.
Screenshot from Praxis Films/Shot by Laura Poitras

Concerns over Aadhaar’s security measures continue to grow among Indians, after a report by The Tribune, Chandigarh showed that the price of data in the country is just a mere Rs 500.

Understandably, most people pulled up the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), and demanded answers. On January 4, the UIDAI denied a breach, or any leak of Aadhaar data, and instead lodged an FIR against the reporter, who investigated the story.

Commenting on this, American whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted in support of the journalist and the story.

“The journalists exposing the #Aadhaar breach deserve an award, not an investigation. If the government were truly concerned for justice, they would be reforming the policies that destroyed the privacy of a billion Indians. Want to arrest those responsible? They are called @UIDAI,” he said.

On January 5, commenting on Aadhaar after the story by The Tribune came out, Edward tweeted, “It is the natural tendency of government to desire perfect records of private lives. History shows that no matter the laws, the result is abuse.”

Snowden also retweeted a statement made by the editor of The Tribune, who said that they stand by their story and would explore all legal options.

In response to the story, UIDAI called it a “case of misreporting” while issuing a statement noting, "The Aadhaar data, including biometric information, is fully safe and secure."

After this, a deputy director of UIDAI registered an FIR against The Tribune and its reporter Rachna Khaira for a story on the alleged breach of Aadhaar data security, that was published in the newspaper recently. The FIR has also been registered against three people – Anil Kumar, Sunil Kumar, and Raj – who the reporter spoke to during the course of her investigation.

In a story by the Tribune, the reporter Rachna Khaira stated that she paid Rs 500 through Paytm, and in 10 minutes "an 'agent' of the group running the racket created a 'gateway' for this correspondent and gave a login ID and password. You could enter any Aadhaar number in the portal, and instantly get all particulars that an individual may have submitted to the UIDAI.