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Logo of Aadhaar Card Reading application. Aadhar card is provided by India Government. Wikimedia Commons

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) told the Supreme Court on Tuesday it has withdrawn the controversial tender seeking to invite bids for a social media monitoring agency to deal with misconceptions about Aadhaar.

The authority contended before Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph that it will not float another tender in the future. Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra had moved the apex court challenging the UIDAI’s decision and terming it an utter violation of right to digital privacy.

In July 2018, the authority had floated a tender inviting bids for an agency with technical capability to monitor and track online conversations. This agency would have done a sentiment analysis of all such conversations and flagged any discrepancy in sentiments and worked out and neutralised negative sentiments.

The authority claimed the utility of this monitoring agency would help in gauging public sentiment in connection with Aadhaar and also assist in sorting out misconceptions, often resulting in misgivings, with the unique identification project.

Aadhaar Card Logo. Wikimedia Commons

Moitra, in the petition filed through Nizam Pasha, claimed the process of engaging a social media monitoring agency is a tool aimed at social media surveillance. “This is just another social media surveillance centre by another name,” she said in the petition.

The Centre withdrew the tender floated by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting after it was challenged before the apex court in another PIL filed by Moitra.

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Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing with advocates Pasha and Ranjeeta Rohatgi, requested that the statements made by UIDAI be recorded in the order and the PIL was disposed off in terms of the statement. This is the second occasion when the Centre has backtracked on its plans of social media surveillance in PILs filed by Moitra.

After several hearings on the matter, the UIDAI on Tuesday told the court the tender has expired and it has no plans of reviving the tender or floating a similar tender. (IANS)



Yaakov Sharvit of the IAA holds a sword believed to have belonged to a Crusader who sailed to the Holy Land almost a millennium ago, in Caesarea, Israel, Oct. 18, 2021

The Israeli Antiquities Authority said Tuesday that a diver swimming in the Mediterranean Sea has recovered a large sword that experts believe to be about 900 years old, dating back to the Crusades.

The antiquities authority's Director of Marine Archaeology, Kobi Sharvit, said the amateur diver was swimming about 150 meters offshore near the Israeli port of Haifa a few days ago when he spotted the sword lying on the ocean floor, four to five meters below the surface.

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In this file illustration photo taken on Aug. 12, 2021, the Facebook logo is shown on a smartphone in front of a computer screen in Los Angeles

Facebook must pay a $4.75 million fine and up to $9.5 million in back pay to eligible victims who say the company discriminated against U.S. workers in favor of foreign ones, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

The discrimination took place from at least January 1, 2018, until at least September 18, 2019.

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Photo by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash

Tomatoes are a staple in the Indian diet, be it a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian dish

Tomatoes are a staple in the Indian diet, be it a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian dish. It has to be a part of each meal in some form. As puree, paste, flavour, or diced into the dal. This tangy, sweet, and juicy ingredient was not always Indian. In fact, it did not even grow in India until the British sanctioned it. It is a product of colonization and has come a long way to become part of our everyday meals.

Originally, the tomato was considered poison. Its actual native is debatable. Some say it is European while others argue that is came from indigenous parts of Spain and Portugal. Either way, it is a plant species that is associated with the legendary Nightshade. It looks very similar to this poisonous plant that tomatoes were not even harvested for a long time, for fear of picking Nightshade instead. It was believed that Nightshade caused the blood to turn to acid and that tomatoes had the same property. Later research proved that the plant itself may be poisonous but the fruit is not.

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