New Delhi: Expressing concern that the misuse of the social media has become "very dangerous," the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to frame a statutory policy within three weeks to balance online privacy, state sovereignty and reputation of an individual.
On a petition of the Facebook praying not to impinge on the privacy by linking Aadhaar with the social media, a Bench headed by Justice Deepak Gupta said it was beyond the court's jurisdiction to frame a policy and so the government must step in to deal with the issue.
"The government is the right authority as complex issues such as piracy are involved," the Bench said. Justice Gupta further remarked: "It is dangerous how some of these technologies work.
I was thinking of giving up my smart phone and going back to feature phone."To this, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta responded: "It would be wise. Some of us already have.
"On the plea of Facebook and other social media service providers’ claim that they have no way to pinpoint the originators of the dangerous material, the court said:
"We can’t get away by saying that we don’t have a technology to track originators of online crime, if there is a technology to do it, then there is a technology to stop it."
The court also observed that technology has taken a "dangerous turn" and it hardly takes five minutes to purchase an AK-47 rifle on the 'dark web.' ('Dark web' refers to encrypted content on internet, which cannot be accessed through conventional online search engines and is used mostly by hackers.)
"It's a worldwide issue but it needs an answer. We are as much concerned as you are. It raises very serious issues as it involves national security, trolling, terrorism, fake news, pornography and paedophilia," the court added.
The bench said, "Nowadays, social media is used to peddle fake news and incite violence. There has to be some guidelines as my privacy is also important. We think the Centre should come with some kind of policy framework to check all this.
You cannot simply say that we don't have a technology. Why should someone be able to troll me and spread lies about my character? The State can look after itself but what about the individual? What remedy is there?"
"We have to accept this that there is a problem. You cannot simply say anything about anyone on social media and get away.
The originator of the message has to be traced and action needs to be taken against him. Why cannot a person approach the intermediary and say look this person has defamed me and I want to know who he is?"