Antony Clement Rubin and Janani Krishnamurthy were until recently unknown names in the field of law. Then they went to town questioning our very understanding of privacy.
They filed PILs in the Madras High Court asking for authentication of identity on social media. Their reason – to curb cyberbullying and instances of defamatory posts on social media.
Their demand? That Aadhar be linked to people’s social media profiles.
Advocate General K K Venugopal appeared on behalf of the Tamil Nadu government in the Supreme Court and presented this demand as a solution to curbing fake news and defamatory, anti-national and terror-sponsoring articles and porn on social media.
Social media giant Facebook has taken a stand against the motion. No surprises there. Facebook claims that such linking will violate users’ privacy. It has also said that it will be impossible for it to share Aadhar over Whatsapp as the platform has end-to-end encryption and that even Facebook cannot access it.
So, what happens if the Court grants this petition? It may mean the end of privacy on social media. It may also very well lead the way to a drastic drop in online defamatory posts, rumour mongering, anti-national posts etc. Social media platforms across the board may overnight become powerful tools for surveillance.
Then, there are the approximately 10 crore “niraadhars” of India. Those who have not registered for Aadhar. What happens to them? Do their social media accounts get disabled?
Whatever the decision of the apex court, this petition has certainly raised some important privacy vs. cybercrime considerations.
What would your decision be? We’d love to hear what you have to say about this. Do share your views with us!