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I&B Minister says social media snooping tender doesn’t violate privacy; tender indicates otherwise

Rajyavardhan Rathore.

In response to a parliamentary question, Information & Broadcasting minister Rajyavardhan Rathore said that the social media communications hub tender issued by a subsidiary did not violate privacy. "The government proposes to set up a Social Media Hub to facilitate information flow regarding its policies and programmes through social media platforms i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube etc.,"Rathore was quoted as saying in response to a Rajya Sabha question by PTI, "There is no proposal to invade an individual's right to privacy, and the right to freedom of speech," Rathore added. The union minister had claimed the same thing last week in response to a media question. The tender's content and stated aims suggest otherwise. Read: MIB: Social media isn't our department. Also MIB: We'll monitor it In the tender, which was issued by a technical body under the I&B Ministry, the government has sought bids for a company to provide it with a network of around 800 employees to monitor social media and other online communications at a granular level, along with a social media communications hub that automates a lot of the data collection and processing that it needs to run. The Supreme Court castigated the government for the project, saying it would turn India into a surveillance state. The next hearing is on July 30, before the bids for the tender are opened by the government. Supreme Court petition Trinamool Congress legislator Mahua Moitra's petition in the Supreme Court captures a key concern with the tender — the capacity for mass surveillance.…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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