(Bloomberg)
(Bloomberg)

Opinion | Missing cyberlink

True, Aadhaar could help track down troublemakers online. Yet, this is not just about mapping India’s unique ID database onto a social media user base

Will all social media accounts have to be linked with their users’ Aadhaar numbers? The suggestion, first made by the Tamil Nadu government, led to pleas being filed in various high courts asking for it. Facebook resisted the proposal and asked the Supreme Court (SC) to take up the matter directly. On its part, the SC has sought responses from various stakeholders. Of these, the big divide is between the Centre, which is keen on message traceability to act against fake news, and social media platforms, which insist that privacy is part of their service assurance to users.

True, Aadhaar could help track down troublemakers online. Yet, this is not just about mapping India’s unique ID database onto a social media user base. The SC would have to examine how social media linkages would square with its own 2017 ruling on our right to privacy. Recall that it had rejected as “unconstitutional" any demand by a private-sector entity for the Aadhaar numbers of its customers. This effectively quashed the mandatory linking of Aadhaar IDs to our bank accounts and mobile phone numbers. Social media isn’t the same, but consistency of principle is important, too.

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