Want to Go Back to Feature Phone, Says SC Judge as Court Seeks Guidelines to Regulate Social Media

Underscoring the perils of unregulated social media, the Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the Centre three weeks to place before it a policy to anchor the medium.

New Delhi: Supreme Court judge Deepak Gupta wants to go back to feature phones. And Solicitor General Tushar Mehta thinks that leaving smartphones could actually be a good idea. The reason? Both feel technology has made it dangerous to use smartphones.

Underscoring the perils of unregulated social media, the Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the Centre three weeks to place before it a policy to anchor the medium.

The bench, headed by Justice Gupta, emphasised how misuse of social media could prove dangerous for the country and its law and order while noting that the government should come up with a policy on it.

It also pointed out that the role and duties of intermediaries such as Facebook and WhatsApp require to be determined appropriately so that accountability could be fastened.

“It is dangerous how some of these technologies work. I was thinking of giving up my smartphone and going back to feature phones,” said Justice Gupta. SG Mehta replied: “That would be wise… Some of us already have.”

Justice Gupta then went on to narrate an incident about how he reached an Internet post with the help of a professional where AK-47 could be bought.

“People can buy even AK-47 on the Internet… There have to be strict guidelines. Why do we have to worry about the Net only? We will worry about our country,” added the judge.

The bench also talked about the need to access the information about the originator of a message, saying in cases of hate crimes, defamation etc, such information must come through.

The bench said it wants to strike a balance between individual privacy and state sovereignty, while asking the Solicitor General to place before it the draft guidelines so that the court could take a view on it.

The top court is hearing a bunch of petitions filed by Facebook and WhatsApp, contending that the Supreme Court should transfer to itself all the matters relating to social media guidelines pending before various high courts. One of the issues in this case is linking social media accounts with Aadhaar.

Source: News18

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