A journalist who broke the tale that private records of one.2 billion Indians can be purchased online for much less than £6 has been named in a criminal criticism filed with the aid of the government organization liable for the information.
Senior Indian journalists and countrywide press associations criticised the criticism towards Rachna Khaira as “unfair, unjustified and a direct assault on the freedom of the click”.
An research with the aid of Khaira inside the Chandigarh-primarily based Tribune newspaper last week claimed that get admission to a database containing the personal information turned into being offered on WhatsApp agencies for approximately 500 rupees (£five.Eighty two).
The Unique Identification Authority of India, which collects and administers the data, stated it regarded to incorporate “mere demographic” information and not the fingerprint and retina scans which can be also part of the Aadhaar database, the most important of its kind within the world.
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A UIDAI deputy director filed a complaint with police at the weekend naming Khaira and her newspaper and alleging more than a few offenses such as forgery and cheating.
Others, together with the human beings supposed to have bought get right of entry to the database, were additionally named in the complaint, which police will look at to decide whether or not any crook prices ought to be delivered.
UIDAI denied “shooting the messenger”, arguing that it changed into certainly naming every birthday celebration concerned within the incident and would go away police and the courts to decide whether or not any criminal acts had been devoted.
“It does no longer mean that each one individual who is named within the document is necessarily responsible or being targeted,” the authority said in an assertion.
Late on Monday the Indian law and IT minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, clarified the point of interest of the crook complaint changed into the unknown parties who had allegedly sold Aadhaar data.
“Govt. Is absolutely devoted to freedom of the press as well as maintaining protection & sanctity of #Aadhaar for India’s development,” tweeted.
“[The complaint] is in opposition to unknown. I’ve suggested @UIDAI to request Tribune & it’s the journalist to offer all assistance to police in investigating real offenders.”
Indian courts have normally held that sting operations committed by reporters in the public hobby can’t be considered crook acts.
The Editors Guild of India said the case changed into “in reality supposed to browbeat a journalist whose investigation on the problem turned into of first-rate public hobby”.
The Broadcast Editors Association also demanded that the case in opposition to the journalist be withdrawn right now.
“Such [cases] in opposition to reporters exposing systemic flaws is a spiteful kick within the tooth of Indian democracy and the proper to lose speech and expression,” it said.