Amid bowing to the pressure to the Supreme Court which termed the government’s proposal to monitor online data akin to ‘creating a surveillance state’, government has withdrawn the proposal to set up, ‘‘Social Media Communication Hub’
The apex court had issued a notice to the Centre on a plea by Trinamool Congress (TMC) legislator Mahua Moitra.
Hearing the plea, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud had observed: “The government wants to tap citizens’ WhatsApp messages. It will be like creating a surveillance state.” The court had listed the matter for further hearing for August 3.
Earlier on June 18, the apex court had refused to accord urgent hearing on the plea seeking to stay a central government move to set up a ‘Social Media Communication Hub’ that would collect and analyse digital and social media content. The counsel for Moitra had said that the government is trying to monitor social media content of individuals by tracking their social media accounts such as those on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and their e-mails. Also Read: Why track social media chatter
It must be noted that the first tender, advertised in January calling for private players to set up the government project, did not find enough bidders and was scrapped. It was announced for a second time in April, with August as the deadline to submit bids.