SC wants Centre to urgently make guidelines curbing social media misuse

The Supreme Court has observed that technology has taken a “dangerous turn”, and has asked the Centre to apprise it within three weeks about the time-frame needed to come up with guidelines to curb misuse of social media in the country.

A bench of justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose expressed serious concern over some social media platforms not being able to trace the originator of a message or an online content, and asked the government to urgently step in. Neither the apex court nor the high court is competent to decide this scientific issue and it is for the government to come up with appropriate guideline to deal with these issues, the bench said.

The top court had earlier asked the Centre to clarify whether it was contemplating forming guidelines or a framework for linking social media accounts of users with their 12-digit biometric unique identifier Aadhaar. The court had said the matter, to help trace the originator of a content, needs to be decided at the earliest. It had said that it would not go into the merits of the case and would only decide the plea filed by Facebook Inc, which is seeking transfer of cases related to Aadhaar linking pending before high courts of Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh to itself. The Centre told the court that it had no objection to transfer of the cases as considerable judicial time has been spent by high courts on such cases.Facebook and instant messaging app WhatsApp, had said they have filed two appeals against Madras High Court orders.

On August 20, the apex court had sought response from the Centre, Google, WhatsApp, Twitter, YouTube and others on Facebook Inc’s plea seeking transfer of cases, related to linking of social media accounts with Aadhaar, pending in high courts to the apex court.

The top court had asked social media companies including Facebook and WhatsApp to explain what would be the effect of recent amendments in Aadhaar Act by which the 12-digit unique identity number could be shared with the private party for larger public interest.

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