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    SC Says sharing Google PIN with police not a bail condition

    The Supreme Court has stated that asking a person to share a Google PIN with law enforcement, enabling them to track their live location, is not a bail condition. The statement was made in reference to a question posed by a plea to the Supreme Court – “does requiring a person on bail to share their live location with law enforcement violate their right to privacy?”

    LiveLaw reported, that Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan remarked, “this as a bail condition is hit by Article 21.” This is in reference to  ‘right to privacy’ being recognized as a fundamental right under Article 21, following the landmark Puttaswamy judgments. Justice Oka  acknowledged that the accused sharing live location with law enforcement was a bail condition in the past. However, he remarked that while, “ We agree that there are two instances where this Court has done it, but it cannot be a condition for bail”,  responding to Additional Solicitor General Vikramjeet Banerjee representing the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). The court has reserved the order on this issue.

    Context to the case

    The statement was made in response to a plea filed by Frank Vitus, a Nigerian national accused in a drugs case, against bail conditions imposed by the Delhi High Court in 2022. One of the conditions concerned the High Court requiring Vitus and his co-accused to share a PIN on Google Maps and to make their location available to the investigation officer.

    The Supreme Court had also previously sought information from Google India, inquiring whether the inclusion of Google PIN as a condition for bail infringes the right to privacy. The Court emphasized in its order that Google was not a “a party respondent” but simply for gaining insight on the working of Google PIN. However, in the hearing the bench called Google’s affidavit “superfluous.”

    Why it matters?

    The case is particularly significant for its implications on privacy. While the Supreme Court has reserved its judgement, a ruling could have major bearing on the law enforcement’s ability to conduct surveillance. Medianama in the past has reported on the growing trend of law enforcement using technology to conduct surveillance on citizens. Many critics have noted how technologies like facial recognition can undermine people’s fundamental right to privacy, and freedom of movement. Thus, judges noting that tracking of live location can infringe on the right to privacy is noteworthy when it comes to protecting the privacy of citizens.

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    The post SC Says sharing Google PIN with police not a bail condition appeared first on MediaNama.

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