GoI must impose criminal penalty on Aadhaar data misuse, says Edward Snowden

Former CIA employee and whistleblower Edward Snowden addressing the fifth edition of ‘Talk Journalism’ event organised in Jaipur through video conference has said that the government of India must impose penalty on anyone using Aadhaar data for purposes other than public services.

He said that if the Indian government was serious about implementing Aadhaar for public good, it must ensure “criminal penalty” against anyone misusing the data.

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“Mass surveillance system would look like Aadhaar as it creates systemisation of society. Systemisation of society is something that is not stated in the scheme of things for the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI),” he said.

He said that no government will say that it has decided that “you don’t have rights”. They would rather say that they are bringing in a new programme that will safeguard people’s rights and protect them.

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Snowden said that it’s a myth that youngsters are not concerned about privacy. Youngsters are very much concerned about their privacy, he added. He made a point stating that citizens don’t need to explain why they need privacy it’s the government that needs to explain why people don’t need rights.

He said that “we have privacy issues” because it helps those who violate it. He said that privacy can be safeguarded through better encryption systems and strong legal system.


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