Sunday September 22, 2019
Home India Why Governmen...

Why Government Wants to Link Social Media Accounts to Aadhaar

This is a good step as finally the judiciary will address an issue that is becoming difficult for the executive to handle

0
//
Government, Social Media, Aadhar
In all likelihood, the apex court will hear a matter that affects the very fabric of democracy of this country. Pixabay

On August 20, the Supreme Court of India sought the response of the Centre and social media companies to respond on Facebooks plea to shift cases related to linking social media accounts with Aadhaar from various courts across the country to it. In all likelihood, the apex court will hear a matter that affects the very fabric of democracy of this country. This is a good step as finally the judiciary will address an issue that is becoming difficult for the executive to handle.

The government is helpless as all issues related to social media get muddled with concerns on privacy and security. There is a concerted lobby with a trust deficit with anything related to Aadhaar and/or control by the government. While social media users do not think about privacy before sharing information about their children, family and every location detail on social media they worry about privacy while sharing data with the government. When it comes to regulating the identification of users, even the Supreme Court confuses it as a privacy issue. This prevents any clear line of regulations and rules.

It’s important to understand why the government wants to link social media accounts to Aadhaar by understanding its objective with a detailed analogy below. The objective is to identify and authenticate real social media users from the fake ones. By authenticating users the misuse of these platforms can be prevented.

Social media platforms have become a medium for misinformation, disinformation, fake news along with information weaponisation. This is tearing down the fabric of democracy by creating and popularising extreme and negative narratives. Information weaponisation can lead to social unrest, and allow terrorist organisations to spread hate and violence.

Government, Social Media, Aadhar
On August 20, the Supreme Court of India sought the response of the Centre and social media companies to respond on Facebooks plea to shift cases related to linking social media accounts with Aadhaar. Pixabay

All this is allowed to happen because social media platforms do not take any responsibility for identifying users on their platform, they do not take responsibility for the content on their platform, and they do not take responsibility for its misuse — by terrorists, pornographers or rogue countries.

They have more than 25,000 data points on every user but they still claim to law enforcement authorities and even to the judiciary that as per their user agreements they cannot the identify their users. Thus, it is not yet clear to what extent is this information safe as the Cambridge Analytica case proved. In the past, there have been plenty of instances where this information has been misused, mainly to influence the electoral outcomes in the US, during the EU referendum in the UK, in the West Indies, in Africa, etc. This can be prevented if users’ accounts are authenticated and fake accounts are removed as the responsibility for the content will be established to an individual.

The difference between usage pattern of real and disinformation campaign is crucial to understand as surreptitious activity is not done by real accounts. Removing fake accounts will bring down the total number of users on these platforms, as industry estimates that the number of fakes accounts is high and vary from 20-50 per cent of total user base. Since the social media companies have a user base determined valuation, a fall in user growth will affect their stock price more than a slowdown in revenue growth. This explains the opposition to authenticating users.

Now, that we have established the objective of identification and authentication of users and understood the opposition, let us understand the link to privacy and security with an analogy: the objective is to go from Mumbai to Brisbane. But, flying is not safe especially a long flight to Brisbane. To fly, identity has to be disclosed to immigration officials, airlines and even the airport’s security official. This could be considered as a violation of privacy, but is not. Everybody discloses their identity and authenticates that at several levels. The assumption is that the data will not be misused, it will not be leaked. The assumption is that there are norms for storage, access and usage of such personal data. Distrust is not default mindset for these disclosures. When it comes to Aadhaar linkages with social media, distrust is very high.

Also Read- Russian Soyuz Spacecraft Fails to Dock with International Space Station

The distrust could be with the government or its capabilities to secure data. It could also be with social media platforms. To remove this trust deficit, the Supreme Court can lay down the norms for storage, use and security of the data. Beginning with removing the requirement for storing data that identifies the user. It can be limited to authentication transactions like done for a digital payment. Even for authentication, documents other than Aadhaar can be used, such as a passport or driving license. The important thing is to establish the onus of responsibility for the users’ identity with the social media platform.

Perhaps the Supreme Court will create a global precedence, which other countries can follow, by beginning the process of assigning responsibility to social media platforms that is long overdue. (IANS)

Next Story

Pakistan’s Fake Social Media Accounts Spreading Lies on Kashmir

Pakistan has adopted the strategy of giving a religious colour to its propaganda campaign, posing a fake threat from India, while reminding India of the consequences of the rise of extremist forces

0
fake, media, behaviour, artificial intelligence
Social Media Icons. VOA

Fake social media accounts, often emanating from Pakistan, continue to paint a grim picture of Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370.

From passing off a High Court-ordered drive to clear illegal encroachments on forest land in Himachal Pradesh as “barbarism” in the Kashmir valley to terming mobile phone restrictions in the region as “siege in Kashmir”, a false narrative propagated by Pakistanis’ propaganda machinery finds many takers on social media, partly due to relentless promotion by fake accounts.

“Pakistani terror & proxy war paraphernalia burning vehicles, attacking fruit growers & merchants, killing & threatening shopkeepers, enforcing shutdown and calling this SIEGE,” Imtiyaz Hussain, a top IPS officer in Jammu and Kashmir, said in a tweet on Thursday.

“For all those ‘SIEGE’ obsessed reporters. There’s no SIEGE in Kashmir except some restriction on mobile phones which’s being lifted soon. Post 5th August except initially for few days, there hasn’t been any restriction imposed by Govt. Roads & streets are full of people, vehicles,” Hussain said in an earlier tweet.

Fact-checking website BOOM on Wednesday reported that a two-year-old video of clashes between protesters and security personnel in Kashmir is now being shared as the reaction of Kashmiris following the scrapping of Article 370.

Article 370, New, Kashmiris
The end of Article 370 heralds a new beginning for many Kashmiris, despite the doom and gloom in some quarters over its revocation. Pixabay

For more than one month now, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the public relations wing of the Pakistan armed forces, is busy spreading fake news related to Kashmir in a bid to sow seeds of discord among security forces and fuel hatred among citizens in India.

As part of its information warfare, Pakistan has resorted to spreading propaganda, fake news, threatening statements and manipulating the social media.

Also Read- Microsoft Joins Hands with Eros Now to Develop Next-generation Online Video Platform

Pakistan has adopted the strategy of giving a religious colour to its propaganda campaign, posing a fake threat from India, while reminding India of the consequences of the rise of extremist forces. (IANS)