NEW DELHI: The Congress on Friday accused the Centre of trying to snoop on citizens, citing violations of provisions of the Information Technology Act and a Supreme Court order. “The people of India have Article 19 and 21 of the IT Act and nine-judge bench verdict on securing their rights of privacy. Despite this, the government is behaving in a Big Brother manner,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said on the information and broadcasting ministry’s plans to get social media posts and e-mails of citizens tracked through a hub.
“Why has the I&B ministry floated a Rs 42 crore tender for a social media communication hub using public money,” he asked. “The Modi government is using people’s tax money to snoop on people by issuing this tender for a listening tool.”
The Congress leader said that on page 40 of the tender, the government had demanded metadata. “This is a very serious issue because in the last four years we have seen how exponentially Modi government has been violating privacy,” he said.
He further said that several cases, such as those of the Namo App and Aadhaar data leak, had made it evident that the Modi government was violating the privacy of citizens. In the past, the Congress has targeted the Centre for passing on data related to citizens to private players, saying this was against the government’s mandate.
The Congress leader charged the Centre with planning to enter not only the homes of citizens but also their minds. “Is there any safeguard in the tender protecting the privacy of citizens… this is a serious issue,” said Singhvi. He wondered why no public consultation was carried out by the government before issuing the said tender.