[Answered] “Aadhaar linkage to social media is a double edged sword.” Discuss.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Positive and negative aspects of linking social media to Aadhar.
Conclusion. Way forward.

A social network is a social structure made up of a set of social actors such as individuals or organizations. The massive influx of personal information that has become available online has put user privacy at risk. Ideas like Linking Aadhar to social media is not only dangerous but also carry high risk to individual privacy and a threat to democracy.

Positive aspects of linking social media to Aadhar:

  1. The linking of social media profiles of the users with the Aadhaar is needed to check fake news, defamatory articles, pornographic materials, anti-national and terror contents in the online media. E.g online game Blue Whale had terrorised parents and claimed several young lives in India. Thus linking would help in keeping eye on such threats.
  2. It will help in preventing the act of terrorism in our country by creating a wider security network and internet providing much more effective security measure.
  3. It will help government to trace the origin of such online content. This will help in acting at the root of the issue.
  4. It will help in identification of racially or religiously motivated criminals and act against them before harm is caused to others.

Negative aspects of linking social media to Aadhar:

  1. Infringement of Privacy: The privacy of users’ data is at stake. Aadhar contains vital information like age, sex, date of birth, address of the individual. Linking Aadhar to social media would expose this data to cyber criminals. Linking Aadhar and stalking peoples’ is a direct impingement of right to privacy under article 21.
  2. Threat to democracy: Democracies are established with the purpose of protecting the rights of their citizens. Linking Aadhar to social media is a threat to democracy in a way that it can be used to influence elections and voting behaviour of individuals through surveillance. This is a serious threat to people’s power and freedom.
  3. Risk to financial security: Aadhar is linked to banks, various social schemes etc. Linking it to social media will expose users data and possibly all the transaction information. Hacker can easily exploit how the money deposits, and may cause a financial fraud risking financial security of individual and of our nation. Hackers may use Aadhar info linked to social media accounts to steal money.
  4. Dark activities: The possibility that the linking Aadhar will nurture illicit activities and markets like drug selling, weapons etc through darknet by using stolen ids, Aadhar information from social media accounts. It also increase risk for being used in various terrorist activities across the border.
  5. Threat to transparency: The government’s surveillance may not be always about increasing security. It can be used in the to avoid transparency, leading to the loss of basic human rights. Decisions about surveillance are taken by the executive branch (including the review process), with no parliamentary or judicial supervision.
  6. Threat to social security: Social media websites keep track of all interactions used on their sites and save them. These companies like Facebook are found to be involved in cyberstalking, location disclosure, social profiling, 3rd party personal information disclosure, and without the safeguard of a search warrant. Linking Aadhar would expose sensitive info to be out in the market which could be used for blackmailing, targeted advertisements etc. infringing social security.
  7. Propagandas: Such exposure of identities are threat to social peace and stability by using propagandas, false news and false ideologies used by various anti-social actors targeting specific community and people. Although government would keep eye on such agendas, it is difficult to prevent all of such actors. Further it is very difficult to define what is fake and what is propaganda.

The Supreme Court stressed the need to find a balance between the right to online privacy and the right of the State to detect people who use the web to spread panic and commit crimes. But finding such a balance is not only difficult but almost impossible. Such an would act expose all society to threat of loss of privacy and harassment of individual with less control of government on such risks.

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