The Supreme Court of India has decided to transfer all cases related to linking of social media profiles with Aadhaar to itself. Facebook had filed a plea seeking transfer of all cases around this matter to the Supreme Court as there were different petitions listed in different high courts.
All matters pending in different high courts will be transferred to the Supreme Court, according to a news alert from PTI. Attorney General K K Venugopal, who was appearing for the state of Tamil Nadu, which had first proposed the idea of linking social media profiles with Aadhaar number or any other government approved-id, also dropped his opposition to Facebook’s transfer plea.
Petitions arguing for linking of social media to Aadhaar were being heard in Madras High Court. Similar petitions were also filed in Madhya Pradesh and Bombay High Courts. The Supreme Court has also asked the Centre to submit its report in January on notifying of the rules related to checking social media misuse.
According to PTI, the Supreme Court has asked the registry to list all connected matters before CJI for listing before the appropriate bench in the last week of January 2020. Earlier, the Indian Express had reported that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in an affidavit said that the government will take another three more months to revise and notify “extant rules” for “effective regulation of intermediaries” such as social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp.
The rules would keep in view “the ever growing threats to individual rights and nation’s integrity, sovereignty, and security.”
The proposed changes to the existing Intermediaries Guidelines Rules, 2011 will make social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, TikTok and others more liable for the content that is published, transmitted, etc on their platform.
The draft of the revised Information Technology Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules, 2018 was published on the Ministry website on December 24, 2018, inviting comments. The centre has said that three more months will be required to finalise and notifying the final revised rules in accordance with law.
The proposed changes in the intermediaries rules also propose to allow the tracing of information on social media platforms by government agencies. For end-to-end encrypted products like WhatsApp or Signal, this could make functioning in India difficult.