Aadhaar Card Linking Must Be Criminalized: Edward Snowden

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New Delhi: With more questions being raised about the safety of the data stored by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), whistleblower Edward Snowden reiterated his stand against the Aadhaar card on Sunday.

Linking a piece that KC Verma, former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, wrote for The Wire about the fallacies of Aadhaar, Snowden said that demands to link Aadhaar to various services must be criminalised.

“Rarely do former intel chiefs and I agree, but the head of India’s RAW writes #Aadhaar is being abused by banks, telcos, and transport not to police entitlements, but as a proxy for identity–an improper gate to service. Such demands must be criminalized,” Snowden tweeted.

Snowden then went on to quote another tweet from the handle of the official account of Aadhaar from January 17, which claimed to ‘bust myths’ about Aadhaar. The @UIDAI handle said that Aadhaar was not a profiling tool, but an identifying one. The tweet said that Aadhaar does not keep any information about bank accounts, health records, etc.

Snowden then went on to bust that myth instead, where he tweeted that it might be true if “banks, landlords, hospitals, schools, telephone & internet companies were prohibited by law from asking for your #Aadhaar number. But any Indian can tell you they’re asked for their number by non-government entities–and those companies have databases too.”

This is not the first time that Snowden has expressed his opinions on Aadhaar and its security loopholes. The Tribune had published a story early in January, where the reporter was able to purchase over 1 billion user’s Aadhaar data for a mere Rs 500. In response, the UIDAI denied that such a breach was possible and lodged an FIR against the reporter.

At that time, Snowden tweeted in support of the journalist and the publication, and said that the journalist deserved an award, not an FIR.

“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 tweeted.

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