Mumbai: Amid continuous outrage over the Aadhaar data breach that was reported after an investigation by The Tribune earlier this month, and the consequent FIR filed by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), US whistle-blower Edward Snowden spoke up again on Tuesday in defence of the concerned journalist.
Directly calling out the UIDAI responsible for "destroying the privacy of a billion Indians," Snowden tweeted, "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."
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. https://t.co/xyewbK2WO2— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) January 8, 2018
Snowden had spoken on the same issue earlier this month, saying, "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."
Rachna Khaira, the journalist against whom UIDAI filed an FIR said on Monday that she has just revealed the "tip of the iceberg" in her report and there was "much more to come" based on her investigations.
Khaira also appreciated the support Chandigarh as well as Delhi media and even international media has shown to her cause.
India Today journalist Rahul Kanwal tweeted, "Totally wrong for UIDAI to file an FIR against the journalist who exposed #AadharLeaks If a loophole is pointed out Govt should work on fixing the flaw rather than try to shoot the messenger. Don’t intimidate journalists. Not on."
The Tribune also released a statement saying Khair's investigation was a "legitimate journalistic exercise."
"We regret very much that the authorities have misconceived an honest journalistic enterprise and have proceeded to institute criminal proceedings against the whistle-blower. 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 Union government, however, on Monday released a statement saying it was not against journalists or freedom of press in any way.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tweeted that the FIR was against unknown persons responsible for the leak of demographic details.
Prasad also said that a suggestion has been made to UIDAI to request The Tribune and its journalists to assist the police in further investigation.
Govt. is fully committed to freedom of Press as well as to maintaining security & sanctity of #Aadhaar for India's development. FIR is against unknown. I've suggested @UIDAI to request Tribune & it's journalist to give all assistance to police in investigating real offenders.— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) January 8, 2018