FIR an attempt to browbeat the reporter of Tribune: Akila Urankar, INS

Frederick Owens
January 10, 2018

After The Tribune published a story highlighting the ease with which one could breach the Aadhaar data, the Delhi Crime Branch registered an FIR on a UIDAI official's complaint against the publication and its reporter Rachna Khaira.

However, it added that the scheme did not grant access to people's biometric details. Edward Snowden stated that had if the Indian government was really concerned about justice they would have reformed the system that endangered the privacy of a billion of its own citizens.

In his tweet, the former United States government contractor, who has taken an asylum in Russian Federation, also suggested that action should rather be taken against UIDAI, the body that runs the Aadhaar programme.

The legal complaint against Khaira sparked outrage in India, with critics saying that the government was attempting to muzzle the press. The letter then asked the newspaper's editor to clarify if the reporter had accessed fingerprint and iris data and the number of individuals whose data the reporter had accessed for the story.

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"The government is fully committed to freedom of press as well as to maintaining security and sanctity of Aadhaar for India's development". Ultimately, the police registered an FIR against unknown persons. They said the latest breach was an example of what could go wrong. "Instead of penalizing the reporter, UIDAI should have ordered a thorough internal investigation into the alleged breach and made its findings public", the statement said. We're going to write to @thetribunechd & @rachnakhaira to give all assistance to investigate to nab the real culprits.

The Union government, however, on Monday released a statement saying it was not against journalists or freedom of press in any way.

In light of the tweet, it was unclear if the agency would continue with its police complaint against Khaira. "UIDAI can repeat audits every year if not every six months as only full transparency will restore trust back in this system, else more bad news is likely to come". The revelation raised security concerns around the Aadhaar mandation that has been relentlessly pushed by Narendra Modi-led Central government across the country.

"We regret very much that the authorities have misconceived an honest journalistic enterprise and have proceeded to institute criminal proceedings against the whistleblower".

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