The journalist from the leading daily, The Tribune, who revealed in a report how people could get hold of the data associated with Aadhaar numbers such as the demographic details of the individuals, has come under the legal scanner after UIDAI filed a police case against her and the individuals, who sold her unauthorized access to the data a few days after the report came out.
The journalist in question, Ms. Rachna Khaira, reinstated doubts of the security level of the Aadhaar data, which happens to the biggest database of biometric details of individuals globally, with over 1.19 billion Indians having their fingerprints stored on it.
This legal action against Rachna has been strongly criticized by The Editor’s Guild of India, who see this as an unfair attack on the freedom of press and an attempt to bully the journalist whose report sparked great interest from the public. They said that the UIDAI should have ordered an internal investigation into the reported break-in, letting everyone know of what they found. They also want the cases against the journalist to be withdrawn with immediate effect.
The Tribune stated in its report that it had been granted access to the database for as little as Rs. 500 and its journalist was provided with the login credentials for the same. She tried entering an Aadhaar number into the database and the demographic details of the individual, who the number belonged to, were available to her. It confirmed the filing of the police case yesterday on its website.
The UIDAI discarded the notion that there was a threat to the biometric data while acknowledging the fact that the access to demographic details that was provided to certain people had been misused. Sources say that obtaining unauthorized access is a criminal act which why UIDAI filed the case. The newspaper was also asked to report whether they had obtained access to any fingerprints as well. UIDAI, however, assured everyone that the database containing the fingerprints is under the highest levels of security and it would take an eternity to obtain it.