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Govt scraps social media hub plan after SC’s ‘surveillance state’ remark

The Supreme Court on July 13 had rapped the Information & Broadcasting ministry’s plan which was being seen by many as a tool to monitor online activities of citizens.

New Delhi: The centre on Friday withdrew its notification proposing the creation of a social media hub as it had faced allegations of ‘creating a surveillance state’.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered the submission of Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the centre, that the impugned notification was being withdrawn, and disposed of petitions challenging it.

Attorney General Venugopal told the bench, comprising justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, the social media policy would be reviewed completely by the government.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by TMC legislator 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 has sought quashing of the same.

The Supreme Court on July 13 had rapped the Information & Broadcasting ministry’s plan which was being seen by many as a tool to monitor online activities of citizens.

As per the tender document presented in the apex court, the platform’s proposed working was to collect interactions from social media platforms as well as digital platforms such as news sites and blogs. The intention behind this was to create a single system which provides real-time insights, metrics and other valuable data.”

It also stated that the tools must have “listening and responding capabilities” with respect to “standard digital channels” such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, email, and blogs which would have enabled it to analyse sentiment of posts on social media.

(With inputs from PTI)

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