IB Ministry’s “Social Media Hub” will be available in many Indian languages like English, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Punjabi; to track real-time online data of citizen’s.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Friday announced to set up a social media hub that would explore and analyze user’s online content. The ministry said that it would monitor the online data along with other digital platforms like blogs and news. The Supreme Court did not take the decision well and held strong opinions against it.
The government proposed to tap into the social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram while also wanting to tap user’s WhatsApp messages saying that this would make India a “surveillance state.” A PSU (Public Sector Undertaking) under the ministry namely the Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL) would supply the software for the project according to reports. This software would help in the creation of this hub while building a “single system providing real-time insights, metrics and other valuable data”. The project would employ media people for every region who would provide real-time updates from the citizen’s location to the government. The document also mentions that the project will provide programmed reports, insights and comprehensive work-flows on initiating engagement across online channels.
What is the hub?
The social media hub will provide real-time valuable data and insights to the government. The data is expected to help the government with framing policies and schemes while rectifying errors in their operation. This will allow the common man to directly communicate with the government if they have any complaints.
All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) legislator, Mahua Moitra’s advocate informed the Supreme Court about the government’s request for proposals for creating the hub which is said to be opened on 20th August. The advocate said that the government wants to monitor social media content with help of this hub by tracking twitter, facebook and Instagram accounts along the e-mails. After Mahua Moitra made a plea, the court issued a notice to the government asking for a reply within two weeks.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal’s assistance was sought by the bench in the matter. It said that “The government wants to tap citizens’ WhatsApp messages. It will be like creating a surveillance state.”