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Setting up of social media hub is like creating surveillance state, says SC

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The today took a strong note of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry's decision to set up a hub for monitoring online data, observing that it will be "like creating a state".

The top court said the government wants to tap citizens' WhatsApp messages and sought its response within two weeks.

A bench of and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued notice to the Centre on a plea by (TMC) and sought K K Venugopal's assistance in the matter.

"The government wants to tap citizens' WhatsApp messages. It will be like creating a state," the bench said.

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 content with the help of this 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 for the government will assist the court in the matter.

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

The had said that the government is trying to monitor of individuals by tracking their such as those on Twitter, and Instagram, and their e-mails.

Recently, the (BECIL), a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the ministry, had floated a tender to supply a software for the project.

"A technology platform is needed to collect from all core as well as digital platforms such as news, blogs... In a single system providing real-time insights, metrics and other valuable data," the tender document says.

Under the project, would be employed on contractual basis in each district to be the "eyes and ears" of the government and provide real-time updates from the ground.

The tender document says the platform is expected to provide automated reports, tactical insights and comprehensive work-flows to initiate engagement across digital channels.

"The platform maybe used to disseminate content and hence, should support publishing features," the document says, adding the platform needs to power a real-time New Media Command Room," according to the tender document.

It should also help the ministry to understand the impact of various conducted on Centre-run schemes, it says.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 13 2018. 12:55 IST
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