On Tuesday, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said to Supreme Court that it withdrew the controversial tender asking to invite bids for a social media monitoring agency to deal with misunderstandings about Aadhaar.
The authority claimed before Justices K.M. Joseph and Sanjay Kishan Kaul that it will not hover another tender in the future. MP Mahua Moitra of Trinamool Congress had moved the apex court challenging the UIDAI’s decision and entitling it an utter violation of the right to digital privacy.
In July 2018, the authority had opened a tender invitation bid for an agency with the technical aptitude to monitor and track online conversations.
UIDAI insisted that the use of this monitoring agency would support in assessing public sentiment about Aadhaar and also help in clearing out misconceptions, often resulting in doubts, with the unique identification project.
Moitra, in the petition filed through Nizam Pasha, protested the process of employing a social media monitoring agency as a tool intended for social media surveillance. “This is just another social media surveillance center with the other name,” she said in the petition.
The Centre has withdrawn the tender hovered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting after facing the challenge before the apex court in a PIL filed by Moitra.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared with advocates Ranjeeta Rohatgi and Pasha asked that the statements made by UIDAI should be recorded in the order, and the PIL was disposed off in terms of the statement.
This is the second time the Centre has called off its plans for social media surveillance.
After numerous hearings on the matter, on Tuesday, the UIDAI said the court the tender has been terminated, and it has no further plans to revive the tender or float a similar tender.