AG informs SC as Centre withdraws social media hub policy

Legal

New Delhi: The Centre today told the Supreme Court it will undertake a complete review of its social media policy and has withdrawn its notification proposing a social media hub, which some alleged could become a tool to monitor online activity of citizens.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered the submission of Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, that the notification was being withdrawn, and disposed of petitions challenging it.
Venugopal also told the bench, comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, that the social media policy would be reviewed completely by the government.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by TMC MLA Mahua Moitra alleging that the Centre’s social media hub policy was to be used as a tool to monitor social media activities of the citizens and should be quashed.

On July 13, the apex court had asked the government whether its move to create such a hub was to tap people’s WhatsApp messages, and observed that it will be like creating a “surveillance state”.
The Trinamool Congress legislator from West Bengal had asked whether the government wants to tap citizens’ messages on WhatsApp or other social media platforms.
Moitra had said the government had issued a Request For Proposal (RFP). The tender will be opened on August 20 for a software which would do 360 degree monitoring on all social media platforms such WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram and track e-mail contents, she said.

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