Following the direction of the Supreme Court to the Center to file an affidavit on its measures to regulate social media and the discussions on whether Aadhaar can be linked to the Social media accounts, UIDAI has come out with its view that a “New Law is needed for Aaadhaar_Social Media Linkage”.
UIDAI has been often at the receiving end with the Supreme Court on the permitted uses of Aadhaar on which the citizens of India have spent crores of rupees. Recently, eminent jurist Harish Salve said that “Supreme Court” is responsible for the economic slow down in India.
In the mining sector alone, 23 lakh jobs appear to have been lost because of the Supreme Court judgements.
The reason for such opinions to be coming forth is that Supreme Court is often going beyond its judicial duties and not allowing the Government to do its executive functions because it has a soft corner for the Anti Modi lawyer brigade who find fault in everything the Government does.
Perhaps the Supreme Court has now realized that there is some truth in these allegations and hence has gone slightly soft in its latest order regarding the “Linking of Aadhaar to Social Media”. It has directed the Government to come up with its guideline in this matter.
The bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose has observed that “Technology” has taken a “Dangerous turn” and there is a need to curb the misuse of social media.
In December 2018, the Government had actually come up with a revision of its 2011 administrative notification on “Intermediary Guidelines under Section 79 of ITA 2000/8”. This had several provisions to regulate fake news in social media.
This was just an administrative notification but the Government afraid of its own ability to meet the legal scrutiny put up the notification for public comments. Since it was a pre-election scenario, lot of noise was raised by the political opposition and a petition was also filed in the Supreme Court. The public comment was sought and the guideline went into the oblivion and the lobby which was against the regulations succeeded in stalling the regulation.
Now the Supreme Court is coming back to advise the Government on framing a regulation. It is necessary for the Court to now dismiss the earlier petition against the regulation and let the Government proceed with the regulation.
Naavi has time and again pointed out that there is a need to regulate the social media from being misused and one of the means is to allow “Identified Social Media Players” an extra freedom to express themselves as against the “Anonymous Cyber Stonepelters“. The so called “Trolls” in social media are mostly people who hold fake accounts and use it to discourage expression of some people who dare to express themselves identifying themselves.
Many of the articles on this site highlight not only the problems but also the solutions. Even now Naavi recommends that a suitable solution to prevent misuse of Social Media can be implemented without the need for the Government to tinker with the Aadhaar law.
This has been discussed several times in this site and can be operationalized without any delay if the technical framework can be built up to back the suggestions.
But so far there has been a lack of will from the Government or Private technology players. I hope that the current situation will at least prompt some aggressive technology people to take up this project immediately.
Such companies can even implead in the current suit in the Supreme Court and plead for an opportunity to present its plan so that if the Supreme Court or the Government has any suggestions they can be implemented. Alternatively the Government can present the project as one line of approach to find a solution and respond to the Supreme Court.
We need to wait and see how the solution unfolds in the coming days.