Expressing his views on Aadhaar, American whistleblower Edward Snowden has hinted that private data of Indian citizen can be ‘abused’. Snowden, who tagged a Tweet from CBS journalist Zack Whittaker, said history shows that the data have been misused. “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,” he said in a Tweet. Snowden’s tweet came after Narendra Modi government quashed reports that Aadhaar data could be breached.
Earlier, Whittaker had tweeted, “ICYMI. India has a national ID database with 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. (sic)” Reacting to the reports of the alleged breach, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Thursday said the Aadhaar data including biometric information is fully safe and secure. The government termed the story on Adhar data breach as 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.
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. https://t.co/7HSQSZ4T3f
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) January 4, 2018
The Aadhaar-issuing body further said that it has given the “search facility” for grievance redressal to designated personnel and state government officials to help residents, that too only upon entering their Aadhaar number. “UIDAI maintains complete log and traceability of the facility and any misuse can be traced and appropriate action taken. The reported case appears to be instance of misuse of the grievance redressal search facility,” it claimed.
UIDAI said since it maintains full log and traceability of the facility, legal action including FIR against the persons involved in the case, is being initiated. UIDAI said even its grievance redressal search facility offers only limited access to name and other details and “has no access to biometric details”.
The UIDAI said that there has not been any data breach of biometric database which remains fully safe and secure with highest encryption at UIDAI. It added that a display of demographic information cannot be misused without biometrics,” it said.
The Adhaar issuing body further clarified that Aadhaar number is not a secret number, and is to be shared with authorised agencies whenever an Aadhaar holder wants to avail a service or benefit of government welfare schemes.