TMC MP Mahua Moitra seeks to implead herself in Aadhar-social media linkage case

Moitra has moved the Madras High Court, where the case is pending, in this regard.

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra
MUMBAI: Mahua Moitra, the Trinamool Congress Member of Parliament, has sought to implead herself in a case pertaining to the linking of social media accounts with government identification proofs.

Moitra has moved the Madras High Court, where the case is pending, in this regard.

ET has access to a copy of her plea.

The high court is expected to hear the petition on October 1.

Moitra, who is also a member of the Parliamentary Standing committee on Information Technology, has expressed concern over potential violation of privacy that would arise in case government identity proofs, including Aadhaar, are linked to social media, in the absence of a detailed privacy policy.

Moitra said in her plea that arguments in the case had proceeded “towards the abrogation of individual privacy rights through proposals that serve to undermine the end-to-end encryption of online communications and increase traceability of users on online platforms like Whatsapp, Twitter etc.”

She also expressed concern over the level of access online companies such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Google have and its impact upon her right to privacy.

“I am further concerned by the extent to which such companies may further impinge on my right to privacy when they are required to link my identity with a valid form of governmental identification,” Moitra said in the plea.

A statutory regime is required to verify a need for any compromise on privacy, as mandated by a Supreme Court judgement in the Justice Puttaswamy vs Union of India case. This regime, while envisaged in the Personal Data Protection Bill, has been in draft form for over a year, she said.

“…any analysis of steps to be taken for the decryption of online communications, the linkage of governmental identification with online accounts, or any other abrogation of online privacy, is premature in the absence of a robust and detailed privacy legislation being used as the framework upon which such an analysis should occur," Moitra said.

She was increasingly concerned with the arguments, Moitra said, particularly a proposal by IIT Madras professor V Kamakoti after the Madras High Court sought a technical report from him on enabling traceability of messages.

Kamakoti’s proposals sought to make the message originator’s number visible to all recipients or to encrypt the sender’s phone number in the metadata of each message.

This metadata could only be decrypted by WhatsApp after relevant court orders, he had proposed.
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