Published: Mon, January 08, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

UIDAI lodges FIR against newspaper over Aadhaar data breach report

UIDAI lodges FIR against newspaper over Aadhaar data breach report

UIDAI had defended the system's security protocols and rejected the report about the ease with which the system can be infiltrated and demographic data accessed.

He said the daily would explore "all legal options" open to it to defend its freedom to undertake serious investigative journalism.

In a statement on Sunday, the UIDAI said it was "duty-bound" to "disclose all the details of the case and name everyone who is an active participant in the chain of the events leading to commission of the crime, regardless of whether the person is a journalist or anyone else".

This has come two months after UIDAI insisted that "Aadhaar data is fully safe and secure and there has been no data leak or breach at UIDAI".

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The Editors Guild of India is deeply concerned over reports that the Deputy Director of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had registered an FIR against Rachna Khaira, a reporter of The Tribune, in the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police.

The Editors Guild of India condemned UIDAI's action, saying it was created to "browbeat a journalist".

"The FIR has been registered by the UIDAI, but I have not gone through the FIR, therefore I can not tell the names of all the persons named in the FIR. soon an investigation will be initiated", Joint Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar (Crime Branch) was quoted as saying by The Tribune on Sunday. "The Guild demands that the concerned Union Ministry intervene and have the cases against the reporter withdrawn apart from conducting an impartial investigation into the matter", read the statement of the guild.

The Tribune report had revealed that details of Aadhaar is easily accessible, that too just by paying Rs 500. The service provided unrestricted access to details for any of more than one billion Aadhaar numbers.

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UIDAI maintained that the reported case appeared to be an instance of misuse of the grievance redressal search facility.

Under fire for filing the FIR, the UIDAI said it respects free speech, including freedom of the press, and its police complaint should not be viewed as "shooting the messenger". The complaint said that wrote a misleading article against the Aadhaar ecosystem and also uploaded a video to substantiate his claims. "The service was restricted to post offices and designated banks to avoid any security breach in November previous year", the report said. "It is shocking that the BJP, called this news report fake on the very day it was published, without even acknowledging a cause of concern and launching an investigation".

Whistleblower Edward Snowden, who famously leaked thousands of classified documents revealing the extent of mass surveillance programmes in the USA and United Kingdom, also weighed in on India's Aadhaar system. He has further stated that the national security is at stake.

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