The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that the misuse of social media platforms had become dangerous and directed the central government to file an affidavit informing how it aims to tackle the menace. A bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said that the government must balance the individuals’ privacy and the nation’s sovereignty.
One of the judges said that he was so alarmed over the misuse of social media that he was considering giving up his smartphone and returning to a device with an old feature. To which Kapil Sibal, who was representing Facebook said that this would be a ‘wise move.’ Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, according to Livelaw website, said that ‘a few of us have already done so.’
The Bench said, “Misuse of social media has become dangerous. Govt should step in to deal with the issue at the earliest. Why should we worry about the internet? We will worry about our country. We can’t say we don’t have the technology to track the origins of online crimes. If originators have technology to do it, we have technology to counter it and track the originator.”
The judge said that whilst the State was capable of taking care of itself, he asked ‘what recourse does the individual have?’ “What about the individuals when they are trolled?”, the judge asked.
Justice Gupta said, “After the last hearing I researched and found I could buy an Ak-47, on the dark web, in 30 minutes.”
The same bench had asked the government three days ago if it was contemplating linking users’ Aadhaar cards to their social media account. Mehta on Tuesday said that the government was still studying the matter and had not taken any decisions in this regard.
The Bench was responding to a plea filed by Facebook and WhatsApp seeking the transfer of cases pending at Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh High Courts. These cases were linked to demands seeking the linking of Aadhaar to users’ social media accounts.
The Tamil Nadu government had opposed the transfer of cases saying that Facebook was refusing to comply with the Indian laws. This, according to the government, was proving to be difficult in detecting crimes.