Attacking Aadhaar authorities for data breach, American whistleblower Edward Snowden on Tuesday said that the journalist who reported the story deserves an award and not investigation.
The former United States government contractor's attack comes few days after a report exposed flaws in the system of the Aadhaar-issuing body.
Aadhaar data breach: Delhi Police registers FIR against scribe, The Tribune says 'story was in response to a very genuine concern'
Criticising Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Twitter, Snowden said instead of an investigation, the journalist needed to be rewarded for exposing that the Aadhaar data was not fullproof and could be obtained at a cost of only Rs 500.
In his tweet, Snowden, who has taken an asylum in Russia, also suggested that action should rather be taken against UIDAI authorities, the body that runs the Aadhaar programme.
"The journalists exposing the Aadhaar breach deserve an award, not an investigation. If the government were truly concerned for justice, they would be reforming the policies that destroyed the privacy of a billion Indians. Want to arrest those responsible? They are called UIDAI," Snowden tweeted.
Meanwhile, Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad had said that the administration was "fully committed to freedom of press" and that an FIR filed is "against unknown".
"Govt. is fully committed to freedom of Press as well as to maintaining security & sanctity of #Aadhaar for India's development. FIR is against unknown. I've suggested @UIDAI to request Tribune & its journalist to give all assistance to police in investigating real offenders," Prasad tweeted.
Earlier, the Editor's Guild of India condemned the move by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to lodge an FIR against the journalist saying that it "condemns UIDAI's action to have the Tribune reporter booked by the police as it is clearly meant to browbeat a journalist whose investigation on the matter was of great public interest".
The Press Club of India and Amnesty International too strongly opposed UIDAI's move of filing FIR against the journalist.
Under fire for filing the FIR, the UIDAI had said that it respects free speech, including freedom of the press, and its police complaint should not be viewed as "shooting the messenger".
On January 5, Snowden had hinted that the Aadhaar database conceived and introduced by the Indian government can also be misused and abused.