WE’LL BE MOVING TOWARDS BECOMING A SURVEILLANCE STATE IF EVERY SINGLE TWEET OR WHATSAPP MESSAGE IS MONITORED: SC

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An illustration of social media surveillance (credit – advox.globalvoices.org)

If Every Single Tweet Or Whatsapp Message Is Monitored, We’ll Be Moving Towards Becoming A Surveillance State, Said Supreme Court while issuing the notice to the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Caravan News

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court of India on Friday issued a notice to the central government while hearing a PIL challenging the government’s proposal to monitor social media.

If every single tweet or WhatsApp message is monitored, “we’ll be moving towards becoming a surveillance state”, Justice DY Chandrachud remarked while agreeing to hear the PIL filed by Trinamool Congress MLA Mahua Moitra. The lawmaker has challenged the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s proposal to monitor social media movements.

The Bench comprising Justices Chandrachud and AM Khanwilkar besides Chief Justice Dipak Misra issued notice to I&B Ministry and sought the Attorney General’s assistance in the matter, said a report in LiveLaw.in.

The TMC lawmaker, who was represented by Senior Counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Advocate Mohammad Nizam Pasha, has challenged the “Request for Proposal” (RFP) issued by the Broadcasting Engineering Consultants India Limited, a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU). The RFP has called for bids and proposals for selection of an agency to set up a Social Media Communication Hub by the I&B Ministry.

Since the government tender closes on 30th August 30, the bench has fixed the next date of hearing on 3rd August.

In her petition, Ms. Moitra alleged that the proposal violates her fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution, contending that it is a “brazen attempt at mass surveillance”. She in fact alleges that the entire exercise is intended at “targeting voices which are critical of the government”, the news portal, dedicated to legal issues, quoted her.

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