Andrew Kelly / Reuters
Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower, has come out in support of the Indian journalist who exposed a huge breach in India's controversial biometric ID program, Aadhaar, and said the people responsible should be arrested.
Rachna Khaira, of Chandigarh-based Indian newspaper the Tribune, revealed she was able to buy access to the personal information of nearly 1.2 billion people in the Aadhaar database for just $8. She was then named in a criminal complaint by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the government body responsible for the data.
The database contains personal information collected by the Indian government since 2010, including names, ages, addresses, cell phone numbers, and iris scans. Critics have long argued that it compromises privacy and could lead to mass surveillance.
"I am happy that the concerns relating to the Aadhaar program are being highlighted internationally," Khaira told BuzzFeed News. "Mr. Snowden's tweet validates my report, and I thank him for highlighting these concerns."
Last week Snowden quoted a BuzzFeed News story about the database breach in a tweet.
A UIDAI spokesperson did not respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.
The legal complaint against Khaira sparked outrage in India, with critics saying the government was attempting to muzzle the press. Local journalists in Jalandhar, Khaira's home city, held a protest march on Monday.
Last year the country slipped three points from the previous year on the World Press Freedom Index and ranks 136.
The UIDAI reacted to the backlash by saying the agency respected freedom of press.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s information and technology minister, doubled down on the government’s commitment to freedom of press.
There's An Animal Called The Pink Fairy Armadillo, And I Have Some Questions
Whatareyouwhatareyouwhatareyouwhatareyou. WHO DID THIS TO YOU? TELL ME THEIR NAME AND I WIL...
Can You Get Through This Post Without Realizing That You Actually Love Raccoons?
Go on. Try. This is what they ~want~ you to think when someone says "raccoon." Dzphotov...
This Dog's Over-Joyous Target Pics Have Gone Massively Viral
The most adorable shopping partner. It's really no surprise the pics went viral,...
Please Keep Your Pets Inside In The Cold Weather
If it’s too cold for you, its too cold for them. Your pets, you love them. Giphy ...
A Photographer Spent Two Years Photographing Animals That May Soon Be Extinct
“We as humans are connected to animals through our origins. If we don’t value them, we might lose them, and lose part...
Animals Consistently Showed Up In Weird AF Places In 2017, So Here Are Just A Few
“Cat in a Tissue Box” is the new “Cat in a Hat.”
19 Mushy Bulldogs That We All Need To See Today
What mushballs. This distinguished mushball: Instagram: @scarletandgraybulldogs ...
Can You Make It Through This Post Without Smiling Like Any Of These Dogs
:) :) instagram.com :) instagram.com ...
17 Times Fiona The Hippo Was The Best Part Of 2017
2017 was a time to feel HIP. Everyone knows 2017 has been, um... How do I put this? QUITE THE YEAR....
19 Dogs That Were So Bad They Were Actually Good
We’ll love them no matter what. "Thank God you're here because something TERRIBLE happened and I ha...