The Centre on Wednesday said there was no plan to link Aadhaar with social media accounts. The idea has been mooted several times to combat fake news and curb child pornography on the internet.
“There is no proposal with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to link social media profiles of users with their Aadhaar number(s),” Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written answer to Lok Sabha. Prasad added that the government was taking several steps to curb the “serious menace” of child pornography and rising “revenge porn”.
The proposal was first mooted in a petition filed in the Madras High Court in July 2018. Similar petitions were filed in the Madhya Pradesh and the Bombay high courts. In October, the Supreme Court transferred to itself all the cases related to linking social media accounts with Aadhaar already pending in different high courts. Social media giant Facebook had filed the transfer plea. The case is still pending, and the next date of hearing is yet to be decided.
The Supreme Court had also told the Centre to submit its report in January on the notification of rules to regulate social media in India. The Centre agreed to do it by January 15. During the hearings, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had told the court that internet had become a potent tool for causing “unimaginable disruption to the democratic polity”. The ministry said that although technology had aided economic growth and development, it had also given rise to hate speech, fake news, and anti-national activities.
Replying to a question on blocking websites spreading fake news and pornography, Prasad said that India should not be compared with China or the Middle East. “We are a democracy,” he added.