Supreme Court asks Centre for framing guidelines to curb social media misuse

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Central government to file an affidavit in three weeks on the guidelines to curb misuse of social media in the country.

A two-judge bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose expressed serious concern over some social media platforms not being able to trace the originator of a message or an online content.

The court observed that technology has taken a “dangerous turn” and the government must step in now to balance the interests of online privacy and state sovereignty.

Warning the Centre that a balance needed to be struck, the apex court stressed: “If there is technology to encrypt then there must be technology to decrypt also.”

“It’s not for the courts to frame guidelines on prevention of social media misuse, policy can only be decided by the government. Once government makes policy, then we can decide on the legality of policy. But issues like privacy needs to be regulated by the government,” said Justice Deepak Gupta.

“It is dangerous the way the technology is going. After the last hearing I researched and found I could buy an Ak-47, on the dark web, in 30 minutes,” Justice Gupta said, adding, “I want to give up my smartphone.”

The court was hearing a petition filed by social media giant Facebook Inc. for transfer of the cases from High Courts of Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh to the Supreme Court which seeks interlinking of Aadhaar with social media accounts.

The case is now listed for hearing on October 22.