The Leaflet

| @theleaflet_in | August 20,2019

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Central Government among others, seeking response over plea for transfer of all cases related to the linkage of individual social media accounts with 12 digits Aadhaar number, from various high courts to itself.

The response has been sought from social media entities like Twitter, Google and YouTube as well.

In its petition, Facebook INC has mentioned that all the cases filed in the high courts of Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh and the relief sought are similar. Therefore, Facebook INC plea has demanded that the cases be clubbed and heard by the apex court.

Hearing the plea, a two-judge bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose issued the notices and fixed September 13, 2019, as the next date of hearing.

Even though Facebook INC had demanded, the apex court did not stay the proceedings which are underway in the high courts. But it

asked the high courts to refrain from passing a final judgment in the matter.

While Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal, who was representing Tamil Nadu, stressed on the need for linking Aadhaar with social media accounts, social media entities raised privacy concerns.

The case, which is first of its kind in India on user traceability on social media platforms, is central to the issue of privacy, according to experts.

Speaking on the larger issue of traceability, IIF founder Apar Gupta told The Leaflet, “This could result in several harms including the real name policies on social media — it could harm anyone who doesn’t have the power in society. It could harm the #MeToo movement, activists, not to mention members of the LGBT+ community.”

The petitions filed before the Madras High Court sought mandatory linkage between peoples’ Aadhaar card – the Government’s already controversial biometric ID for Indian citizens – with their Whatsapp accounts.

The petitions further say that the petitioners think linkage should be mandatory to curb “the rising instances of humiliation, disgrace and defamation (through) cyber-bullying and other intolerable activities on social media.”

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