Blanket monitoring of social media will make us surveillance state: SC

NEW DELHI: The SC on Friday said blanket monitoring of people’s activities on social media by the govt would result in a “surveillance state” as it sought the Centre’s response to a PIL challenging the proposal to create a Social Media Communication Hub (SMCH) on the ground that it was meant to snoop on citizens.

The govt agency Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd, which floated the tender, specified that the successful bidder must set up a “team of 20 social media analytics executives to provide reports on sentiments, reach and details related to trending topics and hashtags as instructed by the ministry of information and broadcasting”.

The team is also expected to do a predictive analytics about what would be the headlines and breaking news on various TV channels and newspapers. This work, using artificial intelligence, would include “how public perception could be moulded in a positive manner for the country, how nationalistic feelings could be inculcated in the masses, how perception management of India could be improved in the world, how the media blitzkrieg of India’s adversaries could be predicted and replied/neutralised, how social media and internet news/discussions could be given a positive slant for India”.

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