Jaipur, Aug 12: Whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has been declared as a fugitive by the United States of America, addressed a media fest in Jaipur from an anonymous location. During his speech, Snowden criticised the Aadhaar system in India, saying it could be used for surveillance purpose.
Snowden's participation in the fest - 'Being a Whistleblower' - was unconfirmed till the final minutes of his virtual appearance. He was connected from undisclosed location, with a white background behind his face.
Snowden did not mince words while condemning the Aadhaar, saying there is "something seriously wrong with this system". He further claimed that the manner in which it is designed is not merely for identification purpose, but could be used for mass surveillance.
The pro-privacy crusader further attempted to dismiss the arguments posed by the government on the pretext of national security. Snowden said the terrorists are technologically updated and remain untraceable. Systems like Aadhaar, he added, are not intended to track down the terrorists, but monitor the common citizens.
Snowden claimed that he is not fearful of the US government which is taking strenuous steps towards locating and extraditing him over the past decade. On the contrary, he claims to be afraid of the entire "world turning into a Chinese market". He was referring to the mass surveillance programmes being allegedly mooted by governments across the globe. Such monitoring was earlier considered to be practiced by only the communist regimes of China and the erstwhile USSR.
The concerns raised by Snowden on Aadhaar comes in the backdrop of the Supreme Court reserving its verdict on a clutch of petitions which challenged the mandatory usage of Aadhaar. The final judgement, reserved by the apex court on May 10, is scheduled to be released in the near-future.