The I&B Ministry has extended the deadline for its tender on constructing a social media communications hub, according to a report by The tender has been criticized for essentially building capacity to conduct mass surveillance of Indian internet users. The Internet Freedom Foundation* has sent a legal notice to the I&B Ministry, demanding that the tender be withdrawn. This is the third time the deadline on the tender has been extended, according to the report. The I&B Ministry has not offered any public comment on criticism of its tender, and reporters did not seem to have brought the topic up at a press event with I&B Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore in Coimbatore on Friday.

The tender

Here are a few features of what the MIB wants from bidders, as described in the 66-page tender:

— The hub needs to create a “analyze as well as visualize large volumes of data across diverse digital platforms in real time”.
— It needs to “listen” and respond to online trends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, complaint websites, and email.
— On top of Indian languages, it needs to support Chinese, German, French and Arabiccontent.
— It should provide a visualization of location-based trends.
— Influencer insights should be readily available, and archives of conversations should be kept and be searchable
— Provide tools for identifying and managing crises in real time
— Crawl social media and the internet at large for ‘data mining’
— Create analytic reports and generate predictive analyses

The document then goes on to describe, in lengthy detail, the specifications for achieving the above goals.

* The author of this article interned and volunteered for the Internet Freedom Foundation in the past. Nikhil Pahwa, MediaNama’s editor, is a founding member and chairman of IFF.