FIR filed against Tribune over report on Aadhaar 'data breach'

Pauline Gross
January 8, 2018

To register its protest against the action of UIDAI, the Chandigarh Press Club has also chose to hold a meeting at its premises in Sector 27 at noon on January 8.

However, The Tribune's report has already been dismissed as "fake news" by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

According to a report of The Indian Express, a deputy director of UIDAI has filed an FIR under Indian Penal Code Sections 419 (punishment for cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) against the accused.

Justifying its stance, the UIDAI said criminal proceedings have been initiated as it was an act of unauthorised access. It added that the action is "unfair, unjustified and a direct attack on the freedom of the press".

"Instead of taking action against people, who were involved in the data breach, the government agency preferred to lodge a case against the reporter, who exposed the loopholes in the system".

In a statement issued on Sunday, Delhi Police said, "On 5.1.18, UIDAI lodged a complaint in the cyber cell that an input had been received through the newspaper Tribune regarding violation of the Grievance Redressal System of UIDAI".

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'The Tribune will explore all legal options to defend its freedom to undertake "serious investigative journalism", the daily's Editor-in-Chief Harish Khare said on Sunday.

It also demanded that the case against the reporter withdrawn and an impartial investigation done into the matter.

The police was informed by the UIDAI official that the correspondent of "The Tribune", posing as a buyer, had purchased the details. But all those who have been there in the chain of incident in which the crime has been committed, have to be mentioned including unknowns in the FIR so that police can make proper investigation in the interest of justice.

After a January 3 news report by The Tribune over breach in Aadhaar data with a headline "Rs 500, 10 minutes, and you have access to billion Aadhaar details", the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has registered an FIR against the newspaper and reporter Rachna Khaira. It does not mean that all those who are named in the report are necessarily guilty or being targeted.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Thursday clarified that there has not been any breach in the Aadhaar database and the personal data of citizens, including biometric information, is safe and secure.

The report published on January 3 showed how anonymous sellers over WhatsApp were providing access to Aadhaar data.

Other reports by GizPress

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