New Delhi: To stop circulation of fake news, defamatory and pornographic material, and anti-national content through social media, Attorney General KK Venugopal on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that social media profiles of users must be linked with Aadhaar numbers.
The top law officer said this during the hearing on a petition filed by Facebook seeking transfer of cases pending in three high courts for linking social media accounts with Aadhaar.
Facebook has contended that these cases in high courts of Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh are similar and seek similar reliefs. These petitions seek a declaration that Aadhaar or any other government authorised identity proof should be made mandatory to authenticate social media accounts.
The court has also sought responses from social media entities Twitter, Google and YouTube to respond on Facebook’s plea and listed the matter for September 13.
Facebook Inc. had said that it cannot share the Aadhaar number with a third party as the content on its instant messaging Whatsapp was end-to-end encrypted and even they do not have access to it.
During the hearing, Facebook contended that all it can share is the Basic Subscriber Information regarding the mobile number, email address, device, etc. of the user and not the messages.
Meanwhile, the apex court has allowed hearing in the respective high courts over the petitions but has said that no final order will be passed.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Facebook on Monday had opposed the petitions for linking, saying that it would violate the privacy of the users. “They cannot tell us, how to run our platforms. We have end-to-end encryption on Whatsapp and even we don’t have access to the content. How can we tell them what is the Aadhaar number? We also have to take care of the privacy of the users”, Rohatgi said.