Monday, 6 May 2019

Govt Can Use Phone Numbers for Verifying Social media

Govt. of India is considering the usage of mobile numbers to trace and track genuine users.  As per information coming in, The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) officials are debating on the concept of using mobile numbers
as an official tool to verify users.

A Senior Govt. official said, “Verification or authentication through phone number is a very good option. The ministry is considering it and has sought views from stakeholders on the same,”

If it gets approved, then mobile numbers can be made compulsory for all users of Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp; and they can be stored in a database for quick reference in case of any need.

Now, for using Whatsapp, a phone number is mandatory to start with, but then, even after the SIM is removed, the app will continue working based on a WiFi connection. However, for using Facebook and Twitter, the phone number is not mandatory, and any user can open an account without having one.

In case Govt. decides to use mobile numbers for verifying Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media portals, then mobile numbers will become mandatory for all users.

A scenario will arise, wherein users won’t be able to create a new account on these social media portals, without giving their phone numbers.

This can become a privacy nightmare for the Govt., as they will have to take necessary measures to protect the numbers, and to avoid hacks and leaks. 

Another option can be 2-step verification of social media accounts, wherein an OTP is sent to the users, before logging in. 

However, this feature is optional, and if Govt. makes the use of mobile numbers as mandatory, then this too can become a mandatory option.

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