Targeting the Indian government over the FIR filed against the newspaper and the journalist over the Aadhaar expose, Snowden said the reporter deserved an award and not an investigation for the act. You could enter any Aadhaar number in the portal, and instantly get all particulars that an individual may have submitted to the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), including name, address, postal code (PIN), photo, phone number and email. He said that if the government was really concerned about the biometric information, then they should be working on reforming policies.
Reacting to the development, Edward Snowden posted on Twitter that journalists exposing the Aadhaar breach deserve an award, not an investigation. "They are called @UIDAI", he continued in his tweets.
He advised the Narendra Modi government to reform the Aadhaar policy, which he said has compromised privacy of billions of people.
The Tribune reporter had revealed last week that she was able to buy access to the personal information of almost 1.2 billion people in the Aadhaar database for just Rs 300.
The revelations in the report made headlines in India, with many on social media expressing concern over the security of their personal data. "FIR is against unknown", he said.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tweeted that the FIR was against unknown persons responsible for the leak of demographic details.
Last week, Snowden had called it "abuse" and an outcome of governments" natural tendency to keep tabs on all citizens (See: Snowden calls Aadhaar a "natural tendency' to snoop on citizens).
The UIDAI reacted to the backlash by saying that the agency respected freedom of press.
"We regret very much that the authorities have misconceived an honest journalistic enterprise and have proceeded to institute criminal proceedings against the whistleblower".
Various press bodies including the Press Club of India, the Editors Guild, Indian Women's Press Corps, Press Association and the Mumbai Press Club on Sunday condemned the lodging of FIR against The Tribune reporter who exposed vulnerability of the Aadhaar data.
"I've suggested UIDAI to request Tribune and its journalist to give all assistance to police in investigating real offenders", he said.