NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, known for his stand on government spying, tweeted on 21 January, with the link of an article criticising Aadhaar. Published in The Wire, the article written by former RAW Chief KC Verma hit out at Aadhaar and its misuse by banks and telecom companies.
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 criminalised.Edward Snowden
In another tweet on Sunday, Snowden replied to the official handle of UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) which claimed “Aadhaar is an identifier, not a profiling tool.”
The NSA whistleblower’s wrote: “That might be true if banks, landlords, hospitals, schools, telephone & internet companies were prohibited by law from asking for your #Aadhaar number.”
Earlier on 9 January, Snowden had tweeted about an FIR being filed against The Tribune reporter following an exposé on the leaks in the Aadhaar database.
Snowden wrote that journalists exposing such breaches should be given an award, instead of being probed. He further said that the one who actually deserves to be arrested is the UIDAI.
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.Edward Snowden
Whistleblower Edward Snowden, famous for his NSA document leaks in 2013, had on 5 January weighed in on the Aadhaar data breach debates, calling it any government’s “natural tendency.”
Retweeting a post by ZDnet’s Security Editor Zack Whittaker on the Aadhaar breach reports, Snowden had said when governments get personal information about citizens’ private lives “the result is abuse.”
Snowden commented on Whittaker’s tweet that linked to a news report on the Aadhaar data breach.
Snowden has been known for his stand on private security and the extent of governments spying on their people. Two years ago, in an online interaction on social media site Reddit on the right to privacy, Snowden had said:
Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.
Snowden, a former CIA employee and NSA contractor, made international headlines in 2013 when he revealed secret US surveillance programme details. He is now living at an undisclosed location in Russia, fearing persecution by his home country.
After Snowden’s NSA documents leak, it became commonplace for media houses to document the existence and functions of classified surveillance programs and their scope.
Snowden continues to seek asylum elsewhere in the world to escape prosecution by the US.
(We Indians have much to talk about these days. But what would you tell India if you had the chance? Pick up the phone and write or record your Letter To India. Don’t be silent, tell her how you feel. Mail us your letter at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll make sure India gets your message.)