'Arrest the authorities, not the journalists': Edward Snowden speaks on India's Aadhaar data breach issue

Edward Snowden

American whistleblower Edward Snowden has made his stand clear on the Aadhaar data breach issue which created controversies in India recently. Snowden lashed out against the Indian Government for breaching the privacy of its citizens, and he also extended his support to the Tribune reporter who broke the Aadhaar 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," tweeted Snowden on his official Twitter page.

The post of Snowden became viral within a quick time, and it is now the hottest point of debate on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

The Aadhaar data breach came to daylight when a Tribune reporter exposed that an alleged agent on Whatsapp provided unrestricted access to any Aadaar number for a meager sum of 500 INR.

As the news went viral, UIDAI denied the allegations and blamed Tribune for misreporting one of the most sensitive issues in the nation. An FIR was soon filed against the newspaper and the reporter, which fetched criticism from all nooks of the nation. Opposition parties lashed out against the Central Government for such an outlandish move against a journalist who dared to unveil the masked truth, while journalistic bodies demanded that the FIR should be withdrawn.

Due to widespread condemnation from all circles, the Central Government clarified their stand and made it clear that the FIR was not lodged against the journalist. Instead, it was against the unknown people who breached the confidential data.

Aadhaar is one of the major policy initiatives of the Narendra Modi Government, and it is now compulsory to access many services including banking, mobile calling and for availing subsidies. Earlier, on January 5, 2018, Edward Snowden had warned that the Aadhaar database issued by the Indian Government can be misused and abused easily.

Snowden is a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and former contractor for the US Government who had leaked classified information from the National security Agency (NSA) in 2013. After his US passport was cancelled and charges were registered against him for theft of government property, he sought asylum in Russia and is currently residing in an undisclosed location in Moscow.