Snowden agrees with RAW ex-chief: Aadhaar abuse must end

Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on the US National Security Agency's global surveillance programme, on Sunday called India's Aadhaar system "an improper gate to service" and said demands to link it to various services "must be criminalised".

Snowden tweeted this while sharing an online article authored by former head of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) K C Verma.

This is the third time the former US National Security Agency contractor has tweeted about Aadhaar this month.

"Rarely do former intel chiefs and I agree, but the head of India's RAW writes #Aadhaar is being abused by banks, telcos, and transport not to police entitlements, but as a proxy for identity - an improper gate to service. Such demands must be criminalised," Snowden tweeted on Sunday, posting a link to Verma's piece on a news website.

He later retweeted those who replied to him pointing out how banks and telecom companies in India are insistent on Aadhaar linkage.

Later on Sunday evening, Snowden took an older tweet from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) itself and responded to it, pointing out design flaws in information flow with Aadhaar.

The UIDAI tweet from 16 January read, ''#Aadhaar is an identifier, not a profiling tool. Aadhaar database does not keep any information about bank accounts, shares, mutual funds, property details, health records, family details, religion, caste, education etc. #AadhaarMythBuster.''

Snowden riposted in a second tweet, ''That might be true if banks, landlords, hospitals, schools, telephone & internet companies were prohibited by law from asking for your #Aadhaar number. But any Indian can tell you they're asked for their number by non-government entities –– and those companies have databases too.''

Earlier this month, the American whistleblower had lent support to a journalist from The Tribune who exposed a possible breach of data in the biometric identification system, saying that she deserved ''an award, not an investigation'' (See: Exposure of Aadhaar breach 'deserves award, not probe': Snowden).