AADHAAR CONTROVERSY

Journalist who exposed Aadhaar data breach deserves an award, not investigation, says Edward Snowden

The US whistleblower made the comment on the UIDAI’s complaint against a reporter of ‘The Tribune’ – though the police did not charge her in the FIR.

The journalist who exposed a possible breach of data in India’s biometric identification system Aadhaar deserves “an award, not an investigation”, American whistleblower Edward Snowden said on Tuesday.

In a post on Twitter, the former contractor with the United States National Security Agency suggested that it was the Unique Identification Authority of India that was responsible for “destroy[ing] the privacy of a billion Indians”. Snowden made the comments on a tweet by journalist Rahul Kanwal, who had criticised the UIDAI’s decision to file a complaint against a reporter of The Tribune who wrote about loopholes in the Aadhaar system.

“If the government were truly concerned for justice, they would be reforming the policies that destroyed the privacy of a billion Indians,” Snowden wrote. “Want to arrest those responsible? They are called @UIDAI.”

The police, however, have not charged the reporter in the First Information Report and, instead, named unknown people. Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said the government had asked the UIDAI to request The Tribune and its journalist to assist the police in the investigation.

This was Snowden’s second statement on Aadhaar within a week. On Friday, he said history had shown that no matter what the laws are, the result is always abuse. On that occasion as well, he was commenting on the report published by The Tribune.

In its report titled “Rs 500, 10 minutes, and you have access to billion Aadhaar details” published on January 4, The Tribune had claimed to have bought “a service being offered by anonymous sellers over WhatsApp” for unrestricted access to details of the more than 1 billion Aadhaar holders.

After the report, the UIDAI filed a complaint against Rachna Khaira, the reporter who wrote the story. The complaint also named the people Khaira contacted during the course of her reporting, as they had “unauthorisedly accessed the Aadhaar ecosystem in connivance of the criminal conspiracy”, an official had told The Indian Express.

On Monday, senior Delhi Police officials told Scroll.in that they were investigating the involvement of insiders at the UIDAI after the alleged data breach. “It is an open-ended FIR,” Delhi Police spokesperson Madhur Verma said. “Accused persons will be identified during the investigation.”

Hours after The Tribune report was published, the UIDAI said only designated personnel and state government officials had access to the search facility to redress grievances to help residents. The Aadhaar authority said the reported case appeared to be an instance of misuse of this facility.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Get ready for an 80-hour shopping marathon

Here are some tips that’ll help you take the lead.

Starting 16th July at 4:00pm, Flipkart will be hosting its Big Shopping Days sale over 3 days (till 19th July). This mega online shopping event is just what a sale should be, promising not just the best discounts but also buying options such as no cost EMIs, buyback guarantee and product exchanges. A shopping festival this big, packed with deals that you can’t get yourself to refuse, can get overwhelming. So don’t worry, we’re here to tell you why Big Shopping Days is the only sale you need, with these helpful hints and highlights.

Samsung Galaxy On Nxt (64 GB)

A host of entertainment options, latest security features and a 13 MP rear camera that has mastered light come packed in sleek metal unibody. The sale offers an almost 40% discount on the price. Moreover, there is a buyback guarantee which is part of the deal.

Original price: Rs. 17,900

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Samsung 32 inches HD Ready LED TV

Another blockbuster deal in the sale catalogue is this audio and visual delight. Apart from a discount of 41%, the deal promises no-cost EMIs up to 12 months.

Original price: Rs. 28,890

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Intel Core I3 equipped laptops

These laptops will make a thoughtful college send-off gift or any gift for that matter. Since the festive season is around the corner, you might want to make use of this sale to bring your A-game to family festivities.

Original price: Rs. 25,590

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 21,900

Fashion

If you’ve been planning a mid-year wardrobe refresh, Flipkart’s got you covered. The Big Shopping Days offer 50% to 80% discount on men’s clothing. You can pick from a host of top brands including Adidas and Wrangler.

With more sale hours, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days sale ensures we can spend more time perusing and purchasing these deals. Apart from the above-mentioned products, you can expect up to 80% discount across categories including mobiles, appliances, electronics, fashion, beauty, home and furniture.

Features like blockbuster deals that are refreshed every 8 hours along with a price crash, rush hour deals from 4-6 PM on the starting day and first-time product discounts makes this a shopping experience that will have you exclaiming “Sale ho to aisi! (warna na ho)”

Set your reminders and mark your calendar, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days starts 16th July, 4 PM and end on 19th July. To participate in 80 hours of shopping madness, click here.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Flipkart and not by the Scroll editorial team.