The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed concern about possible Aadhaar data leak saying it can potentially influence election results. SC bench is currently hearing the constitutional validity of Aadhaar. During the hearing, Judge DY Chandrachud said, “There is a real apprehension that even elections can be manipulated thanks to data”, He stressed on having safeguards to ensure it doesn’t happen. Judge Chandrachud further said, ” Whether democracy can survive if Aadhaar data is used to influence the electoral outcome”.This comment is in context with the data leak on Facebook by Cambridge Analytica, which was potentially used during the US election. Rakesh Dwivedi, representing UIDAI reacted strongly to Judge’s apprehension and said.” Don’t bring Cambridge Analytica into this”. He assured that UIDAI doesn’t have a learning algorithm like Google and only has a matching algorithm. Dwivedi further said, that the smartcard lobby doesn’t want Aadhaar to succeed. He said Google doesn’t want Aadhaar to be a success story. Judge Chandrachud said that he is more concerned about external influence as nobody may be able to control them. He also asked why Aadhaar platform is being opened up for third party players. Technology is a “very powerful enabler” of mass surveillance, said the Supreme Court last week countering the fervent plea of UIDAI that Aadhaar was not needed to carry out surveillance of the citizens as the State had ample means to do it.A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, hearing petitions challenging Aadhaar and its enabling 2016 law, also red-flagged certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and Rules made under it and asked the Centre how could bank accounts be suspended and then frozen if they are not linked to Aadhaar. The bench also referred to the testimony of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg before the US Congress to press home the point that technology was a powerful enabler of mass surveillance, which could even influence elections in a major democracy like the US.”Can you deprive a person of his property (money)? Can a rule be made beyond the scope of the law? The consequence here leads to deprivation. One cannot withdraw his own money as the account is not linked… First, the account is suspended and then it may be blocked after six months. Can you do this,” asked the bench, which also comprised Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.With PTI inputs
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