Social media need to be linked with Aadhaar: Tamil Nadu before SC
Tamil Nadu

Social media need to be linked with Aadhaar: Tamil Nadu before SC

Agency News

Social media profiles of users need to be linked with Aadhaar numbers to check the circulation of fake, defamatory and pornographic content as also anti-national and terror material, Tamil Nadu Government has made an appeal before the Supreme Court on Monday.

A two member bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said that it will hear the plea on Tuesday, as it needs to go through the documents and transfer petition filed in the case.

The appeal of Tamil Nadu government in the view of the resistance from Facebook Inc on the ground that sharing of 12-digit Aadhaar number, the Biometric Unique Identity, would violate the privacy policy of users. Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Tamil Nadu government, said: "The linking of social media profiles of the users with the Aadhaar was needed to check fake news, defamatory articles, pornographic materials, anti-national and terror contents in the online media."

He said the social media giant claims that its Whatsapp messages are end-to-end encrypted but there is a Professor from IIT who says that the originator of a message can be traced.

The top law officer opposed a plea of Facebook seeking transfer of cases pending before the high courts of Madras, Bombay, and Madhya Pradesh to the apex court seeking to link of social media profiles of users with Aadhaar number.

Facebook Inc said that it cannot share the Aadhaar number with a third party as the content on its instant messaging Whatsapp was end-to-end encrypted and even they do not have access to it.

Venugopal said that hearings in two cases before the Madras High Court were at advanced stages and 18 hearings have taken place so far.

"The case is now listed on August 20. It will be better if the court allows the proceedings to go on before the High Court. This court will have a benefit of a comprehensive judgment in case the matter comes up in appeal before it," he said.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Facebook, said the question is whether Aadhaar can be shared with a private entity or not. "They cannot tell us, how to run our platforms. We have end-to-end encryption on Whatsapp and even we don't have access to the content. How can we tell them what is the Aadhaar number? We also have to take care of the privacy of the users", Rohatgi said.

Advocate Virag Gupta, appearing for former RSS ideologue KN Govindacharya, said that he has filed an application seeking to be made a party in the matter. Gupta said that Delhi High Court has passed several directions related to the issue and he can appraise the court in the matter, which relates to verification of social media users.

To this, the bench said that it needs to go through the documents and deferred the hearing for August 20.

Facebook has contended that there are four petitions including -- two in Madras High Court, one in Bombay and one in Madhya Pradesh High Courts -- and they contained almost similar prayers.