Monitoring online data is like creating a surveillance state: Supreme Court
Information and Broadcasting Ministry plans to set up a social media hub that will analyse digital content and tap citizens' WhatsApp messages
The Supreme Court on Friday took a strong note of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry's decision to set up a social media hub for monitoring online data, observing that it will be "like creating a surveillance state". The top court said the government wants to tap citizens' WhatsApp messages and sought its response within two weeks.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued notice to the Centre on a plea by Trinamool Congress (TMC) legislator Mahua Moitra and sought Attorney General K K Venugopal's assistance in the matter.
"The government wants to tap citizens' WhatsApp messages. It will be like creating a surveillance state," the bench said. Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Moitra, said the government has issued request for proposal and the tender will be opened on August 20. "They want to monitor social media content with the help of this social media hub," Singhvi said. The bench then said it is listing the matter on August 3, before the opening of tender on August 20 and the AG or any law officer for the government will assist the court in the matter.
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