Social media hub is for surveillance: Trinamool MLA

Mahua Maitra

When the NDA government's proposal to set up a social media hub became public, Trinamool Congress MLA Mahua Moitra felt this could lead to a sort of "double-sided surveillance" mechanism and "propaganda tool" for the government. The West Bengal's Karimpur MLA, an investment banker who left her job in JP Morgan to join politics 10 years ago, argues the proposal violates fundamental rights and is a "brazen attempt at mass surveillance". She says in her petition that it is an exercise intended at "targeting voices which are critical of the government". Moitra spoke to DH's Shemin Joy. Excerpts:

What prompted you to approach the Supreme Court against the government's move to set up a social media hub?

It is the highest court in the land and this is an issue that concerns every citizen given the Centre plans to implement it in all 716 districts.

 Several people have raised concerns about the proposal. What are your apprehensions?

The same as that of any ordinary citizen -- that the government will put in the necessary machinery to eavesdrop on every social media conversation and email.

 What do you think was govt motive to come up with such a social media hub?

Well, they are best placed to answer this but from the outside, it certainly seems to serve no noble purpose. Amongst other things, the Request For Proposal (RFP) document mentions the government's desire to use this hub to "inculcate nationalistic feelings among the masses" and to "help facilitate creating a 360-degree view of the people who are creating buzz (sic) across various topics". This sort of double-sided surveillance mechanism and propaganda tool is dangerous for civil society and individual liberties.

Do you think this measure was part of a larger effort by govt to get more details of citizens like the allegation against Aadhaar?

Yes, I most certainly do.

While hearing the case, the Supreme Court observed that the decision to set up a social media hub for monitoring online data was "like creating a surveillance state". How do you see the observations?

I see it as a very positive first step. Let us hope that the ultimate outcome will be as positive.

Liked the story?

  • 0

  • 0

  • 0

  • 0

  • 0



Social media hub is for surveillance: Trinamool MLA


Write the first review for this !