New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Trinamool Congress (TMC) legislator Mahua Moitra (as petitioner) to file a supplementary affidavit in two weeks to justify her apprehension that the lan of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) of setting up social media communication hubs would allow the government to track people.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the apprehension would remain baseless unless Moitra was able to present facts to back it up.

Moitra’s plea claimed such social media hubs were illegal and said there was reasonable apprehension of online tracking of citizens by monitoring their activities on social media.

In July, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud had expressed concern over the ramifications of such as move and said if the government started tapping WhatsApp messages, India would be moving towards becoming a surveillance state.

The ministry had in April issued a tender notice requesting proposals for providing software, service and support for the operation and maintenance of social media communication hubs in each district.

“A technology platform is needed to collect digital media chatter from all core social media platforms, as well as digital platforms like news, blogs and forums, along with a proprietary mobile insights platform in a single system providing real-time insights, metrics and other valuable data. The social media analytical tool should have a comprehensive analytics system to monitor and analyse various aspects of social media communication and the world wide web," the tender notice read.

The analytical tool must have “listening and responding capabilities" with respect to “standard digital channels" such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, eMail, and blogs, the notice said.

The tool must also be capable of categorizing “social media sentiments" as positive, negative and neutral “as viewed/considered by the ministry of information and broadcasting" and help in understanding the impact of various social media campaigns conducted on various schemes run by the Centre, it said.

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