Update: The government of India issued a new press release last night, confirming that it had appointed Ankit Fadia as one of the brand ambassadors for the Digital India initiative.
In a press release, the government said, “As part of the Digital India week (July 1-7, 2015) following four Brand Ambassadors were nominated for a period of one year to propagate the product and applications being launched by the department under Digital India Programme:
1. Shri Satwat Jagwani, All India IIT-JEE —Advanced Topper -2015 (Student)
2. Ms. Krati Tiwari, All India IIT-JEE —Advanced Girl Topper -2015 (Student)
3. Mr Ankit Fadia, Author & Ethical Hacker
4. Shri Pranav Mistry, Samsung USA (Computer Scientist/ Author of 6th Sense)
Thereafter, no other person has been appointed as Brand Ambassador for Digital India.
The services of these Brand Ambassadors will be used, as and when required for generating mass awareness for the programme.”
With the government confirming Fadia’s appointment as brand ambassador, the chatter about his abilities as a ‘hacker’ are unlikely to die down anytime soon.
Digital India has a new controversy and it’s called Ankit Fadia. Fadia, who calls himself an ‘ethical hacker’ and has claimed to help many government agencies, put out a series of photos of Facebook proclaiming that the government of India had appointed him as a brand ambassador for the initiative. Check out the photos here.
Fadia even put out a ‘certificate’ which listed him as a brand ambassador. The news caused some serious outrage online, because many have posted doubts about Fadia’s credentials as a hacker.
An old Forbes article by tech journalist Charles Assisi titled ‘Ankit Fadia revealed,’ which is a scathing profile of the ‘ethical hacker’, also resurfaced on social media. You can read the full article here. Some on social media questioned how the government could have appointed Fadia as a brand ambassador given his dubious claims.
The story got another twist with the government of India issuing a press release saying they never appointed anyone as a Digital India ambassador.
The press release issued on the PIB site said, “There were certain news reports that there is move to appoint a brand ambassador for Digital India Programme of the government. This is to clarify that there has been no such move to appoint a brand ambassador as reported.” Interestingly the link to the PIB release is no longer working, however Google search results still show the link.
Now ANI has tweeted saying that there will be a clarification on the issue in the evening. Check out their tweet here.
Fadia’s own Wikipedia page describes him as a “lier (SIC) and self-proclaimed ethical hacker. His work mostly involves OS based tips and tricks, Proxy websites and lifestyle.” Fadia had claimed to deface and hack the website of Chip Magazine, a charge that was later denied by the magazine. Charles Assisi, who wrote the Forbes article, was an editor of Chip at the time the alleged incident took place.