No proposal to invade individual’s privacy: Govt on social media hub

Rajyavardhan Rathore tells Rajya Sabha that there is no proposal in the ministry to control social media

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Jul 24, 2018 2:56 PM Updated: Jul 24, 2018 2:56 PM

The government does not intend to control the social media and the proposed ‘social media hub’ is just to facilitate flow of information regarding its policies and programmes, the government has informed the Rajya Sabha.

“There is no proposal in the ministry to control social media,” said Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore in the Rajya Sabha in response to a query if the government was planning to control the social media.

“The ministry proposes to set up a ‘social media hub’ to facilitate information flow regarding its policies and programmes through social media platforms i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Youtube etc. There is no proposal to invade an individual’s right to privacy,” the minister added.

In May this year, the MIB announced its plan to hire social media executives in 716 districts across the country for monitoring activities. Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL), a public sector undertaking under the ministry, had floated a tender to supply software (tool) for the project.

“The tool should have the capability to crawl World Wide Web and social media to monitor and analyze emerging trends as well as gauge the sentiments among the netizens,” the tender read, among other things such as “monitor individual social media user/account” and “message monitoring – this will help in understanding overall social media response to a message, tweet or data”.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre on the issue after a public interest litigation was filed seeking a stay on establishment of the social media communication hub.

“If the government starts tapping WhatsApp messages, we will be moving towards becoming a surveillance state,” Justice DY Chandrachud had said while hearing the PIL.

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