Journalists exposing Aadhaar breach deserve award, not FIR: Snowden

News Story      Snowden Slams Indian Govt For Case Against Journalist Who Exposed Aadhaar Breach

"The journalists exposing the Aadhaar breach deserve an award, not an investigation". Today, American whistleblower Edward Snowden also came in support of Khaira and sharply disapproved the UIDAI for registering an FIR against the reporter.

The UIDAI says the breach seems to be a misuse of a grievance redressal scheme that allowed Aadhaar agents to rectify issues like a change in address and wrong spelling of a person's name. If the government were truly concerned for justice, they would be reforming the policies. On January 3, Khaira wrote an article that stupefied the citizens.

An investigation by journalist Rachna Khaira in the Chandigarh-based Tribune newspaper last week claimed that access to the database containing the personal records was being sold on WhatsApp groups for about 500 rupees (£5.82). And if they do want to arrest someone, it should be the UIDAI.

Alok Kumar, joint commissioner of Delhi Police's cybercrime unit, did not respond to CPJ's calls seeking comment. The FIR has been lodged with the Crime Branch's cyber cell under Indian Penal Code Sections 419 (punishment for cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document), as well Section 66 of the IT Act and Section 36/37 of the Aadhaar Act. "Besides, Sections 36 and 37 of the Aadhaar Act have also been invoked", The Tribune reported. "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.

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Uidai is the Unique Identification Authority of India, the authority behind Aadhaar, which was aimed at giving unique IDs to every individual in a country where the poor often do not have any form of identification.

The Press Club of India, the Editors Guild, Indian Women's Press Corps, Press Association and the Mumbai Press Club on Sunday condemned the lodging of FIR against The Tribune reporter who exposed vulnerability of the Aadhaar data.

It then went and filed a complaint with the Delhi Police, specifically asking for a First Information Report to be filed against the agents mentioned in the story, as well as Khaira, the reporter and the Tribune.

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