The Union government said on Wednesday there is no plan to make social media users verify their accounts through Aadhaar authentication yet – an idea that has come up several times in court cases as a measure to combat fake news and curb child pornography on the internet.
The disclosure was made by electronics and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in a written answer to a question from a Lok Sabha member.
“There is no proposal with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to link social media profiles of users with their Aadhaar number(s),” Prasad’s reply said, while also adding that the government was taking several steps to curb child pornography which, he described, as a “serious menace”.
“Revenge porn is also rising in the country,” the statement added.
The Aadhaar linking proposal was first put forward in a petition filed in the Madras high court in July 2018, when petitioner Antony Clement Rubin asked the court to order the government to use such an authentication measure to check illegal online practices.
Similar petitions were filed in the Madhya Pradesh and the Bombay high courts before they were transferred to the Supreme Court. The issue overlaps with the government’s plan to formulate rules that will fix liabilities of digital companies such as Google and Facebook.
The next date of hearing is yet to be decided, and the Centre is likely to present its draft intermediary rules, which are yet to be finalised.
Activists have said that such a move could have privacy implications, a concern that the Supreme Court also raised in one of hearings in August.
While replying to a supplementary question on blocking websites spreading fake news and pornography, the minister said on Wednesday that India should not be compared with China or the Middle East, adding: “We are a democracy”.
Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi wanted to know whether the government issued directions to Facebook as the first shooter at Jamia had live streamed certain things through the social media platform.
The minister said he would not comment on it since the police investigation is going on.