Probe UIDAI, not scribe, for Aadhaar breach: Edward Snowden

Aadhaar sting: Newspaper society concerned over FIR against journalist

The UIDAI on January 4 said its search facility for grievance redressal may have been "misused" but denied any breach or leak of Aadhaar data.

Questioning the move of the Indian government, Snowden tweeted: "The journalists exposing the #Aadhaar breach deserve an award, not an investigation".

"Mumbai Press Club demands an impartial inquiry on the Aadhaar data sale and take action against those involved in the data breach instead of taking action against the journalist who exposed it", it said.

The FIR mentioned the names of the journalist and Anil Kumar, Sunil Kumar, and Raj, the three people Khaira reached out to purchase the Aadhaar data, but they have not been shown as accused, the police said.

The complaint against journalist Rachna Khaira came after she wrote an article in the Tribune newspaper saying that reporters were able to buy access to addresses, emails, and phone numbers of a billion citizens for about $8.


Last week, Snowden had called it "abuse" and an outcome of governments" natural tendency to keep tabs on all citizens (See: Snowden calls Aadhaar a "natural tendency' to snoop on citizens). "They are called @UIDAI". "History shows that no matter the laws, the result is abuse", Snowden, 34, living in asylum in Russian Federation since 2013, tweeted in context of the Aadhaar issue. "FIR is against unknown", he said. "We shall explore all legal options open to us to defend our freedom to undertake serious investigative journalism", said the statement released by The Tribune Chief Editor Harish Khare.

The UIDAI had also said that it respects free speech, including the freedom of the press, and its police complaint should not be viewed as "shooting the messenger".

"We regret very much that the authorities have misconceived an honest journalistic enterprise and have proceeded to institute criminal proceedings against the whistleblower".

India's minister of law, Ravi Shankar Prasad, however suggested that the government did not support the Unique Identification Authority's heavy-handed approach to the journalist's investigation.

The police probe in the Aadhaar data breach story had attracted strong criticism from various media organisations and bodies, including The Editors Guild of India which sought withdrawal of the case.

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