Edward Snowden

Governments’ use of private details leads to abuse: Edward Snowden on Aadhaar leak

His tweet comes a day after the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said there was no breach in the Aadhaar database.


American whistleblower Edward Snowden today took to Twitter to hint that Aadhar can be misused and abused by the Indian Government.

Snowden retweeted CBS journalist Zack Whittaker’s response to a BuzzFeed report on the breach of Aadhaar database in India.

He said, “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.”

His tweet comes a day after the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said there was no breach in the Aadhaar database.

Adhaar Leak

Whittaker had earlier said, “ICYMI. India has a national ID database with the private information of nearly 1.2 billion nationals. It’s reportedly been breached. Admin accounts can be made and access can be sold to the database, reports BuzzFeed.”

The UIDAI on Thursday said the Aadhaar data including biometric information is fully safe and secure.

It termed The Tribune report titled ‘Rs 500, 10 minutes, and you have access to billion Aadhaar details‘ as a case of misreporting.

“There has not been any Aadhaar data breach. The Aadhaar data including biometric information is fully safe and secure,” the UIDAI said in a statement.

This development has come at a time when the Supreme Court is set to begin the final hearing of petitions challenging the legality of Aadhaar programme based on privacy concerns on January 17.

In August 2017, the Supreme Court held that privacy is a fundamental right under the Constitution of India.

Personal details of several Aadhaar users were made public on over 200 central and state government websites till now, PTI reported on Sunday, citing a Right to Information response by the authority that issues the biometric identification.

The data was removed from those websites after the breach was noticed, the Unique Identification Authority of India said in the RTI reply. However, the time frame of the data breach was not clear.

Though the UIDAI has never made such details public, 210 government websites, including those of educational institutes, were found to have displayed “the list of beneficiaries along with their name, address, other details and Aadhaar numbers for information of general public”, the authority said.

“UIDAI has a well-designed, multi-layer robust security system in place and the same is being constantly upgraded to maintain highest level of data security and integrity,” the RTI reply said.

Security audits are conducted regularly to strengthen security and privacy of data, the authority added.

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