Take a Train to Pakistan, Edward Snowden


Take a Train to Pakistan, Edward Snowden

Illustration: Shruti Yatam


s if the controversy around the Aadhaar cards wasn’t confusing enough, Edward Snowden had to step in and muddle it up further by adding his two cents to the debate this week. First, he responded to a Tribune story about how the UIDAI Aadhaar database could be remotely hacked for the sum of 500 Rs, by noting that governments collecting private data has historically always led to abuse. Then, Snowden followed it up by coming out in support of the Tribune reporter who filed the story, saying she deserved an award rather than the investigation that resulted from the UIDAI filing a case against her.

Now that our Aadhaar cards have been linked to our phone numbers, bank accounts, driving licenses, library cards, and bar tabs, it’s awfully inconsiderate of Snowden to come and rain on our parade. After all, who is Snowden except a former NSA contractor who put his livelihood and well-being on the line to expose how governments were unlawfully tracking private citizens? Whether the Aadhaar scheme is flawed or not, what are his qualifications to criticise the large-scale establishment of a biometric database of citizens of the world’s largest democracy?