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Regulating Social Media Will Turn India Into 'Surveillance State', Says Supreme Court

Under the proposed move by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the mechanism is to be made operational at the district-level for collecting and analysing digital and social media content.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:July 13, 2018, 12:19 PM IST
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Regulating Social Media Will Turn India Into 'Surveillance State', Says Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of India. (News18 Creative)
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday observed that letting one's social media content tracked and regulated by the government would turn India into a "surveillance state".

The strong remarks came as a bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, heard a PIL moved by a TMC legislator against the Central government's proposed move to set up a 'Social Media Communication Hub'.

Under the proposed move by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the mechanism is to be made operational at the district-level for collecting and analysing digital and social media content.

Appearing for TMC MLA Mahua Moitra, senior advocate AM Singhvi submitted that the move was completely violative of the right to privacy and would be invasive of the fundamental rights.

Justice DY Chandrachud, who was a part of the bench, then observed: "Tracking and regulating social media content will transform us into a surveillance state".

Subsequently, the bench agreed to examine the matter and sought assistance of Attorney General KK Venugopal. It also issued a notice, calling for a formal reply from the Ministry concerned.

A separate matter relating to WhatsApp licensing policy is also pending in the Court where the moot contention is again about letting the service provider read the content before passing it on to the recipient.

In that batch of matters, the Court had observed that the 2017 ruling on the right to privacy will have a huge impact on any attempt to regulate social media.


| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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