Linking Aadhaar with e-mail is dangerous: High Court
Two judges of the Madras High Court on Monday termed as “a very dangerous relief” a plea by a public interest litigant to link either Aadhaar card details or any other government identity proof with the e-mail as well as social media accounts of individuals to keep a tab on fake accounts used to abuse others and indulge in cyber crimes.
Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad doubted whether such a relief could be granted since it would amount to making public personal details such as Aadhaar number. They said crimes committed using fake accounts could be detected by the cyber crime cell. Therefore, it could not be a reason to order mandatory linking of Aadhaar with social media accounts.
However, they adjourned the hearing on the PIL petition filed by Antony Clement Rubin, an activist-based in Chennai, to August 20 in order to enable the cyber crime officials to throw light on procedures followed by them to track down individuals using fake accounts to indulge in criminal activities. The judges wanted the officials to be present during the next hearing.
During the course of hearing on Monday, a police officer informed the court that Facebook had an employee in Hyderabad to assist the police in tracking down criminals.
However, he provides immediate assistance only in serious cases related to child pornography and so on and does not cooperate in solving complaints of abuse through fake accounts.
The prime reason cited by Facebook for not disclosing certain details to the police was its obligation to maintain the privacy of its users, the judges were told. Finding some justification in the stand taken by Facebook too, the judges said that they would examine the issue in detail during the next hearing and find out how best the court could help in such issues.
They added that, ex-facie, the PIL petitioner had no constitutional or statutory right to seek a direction to the Centre as well as State government to make linking of Aadhaar with e-mail and social media accounts mandatory and that the petition could be dismissed straight away on this ground alone.