“Data Mining And Surveillance By The Government Or Even Private Players Is A Threat To Human Rights”: Justice Sikri At 1st LAWASIA Human Rights Conference

First LAWASIA Human Rights Conference was held at New Delhi yesterday where lawyers and policy makers from several Asian countries discussed the potential impacts of technology ob Human Rights, especially privacy rights, in the wake of threat of mass surveillance by the state and big corporations.

The second session of the conference held today was attended by honorable Justice A K Sikri of the Supreme Court.

Expressing his opinion on the “Freedom of Press in the Digital Age” Justice Sikri commented on how the right of fair critique of the judgment is being misused by the media and public and that “slander and defamatory statements       against the judges” have become a common thing.

Justice Sikri expressed his concerns about the rising trend of “Media trials” and how the media in order to sensationalize the news investigates on its own and gives its own verdict of the matter sub-judice.

He also expressed his concerns over the misuse of social media by the public at large by indulging in defamation and hate speech quite rampantly. He added that all these dimensions of media trials have led to “judging under stress”.

He also mentioned the risk involved with “paid and fake news”, whereby stories are fabricated and go viral over the internet.

In his speech, Justice Sikri finally raised the issue of data mining and surveillance by the state and private players and how this is an intrusion of privacy rights of the people. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution has impliedly recognized Right to Privacy as a fundamental right. 

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