The government was Saturday accused of infringing and abusing people’s personal data after a driving license application scheme asked for details of social media accounts.
It launched Ehluckin mashah license to issue licenses in one day. The initiative, from the Maldives Transport Authority, condenses the the one-week theory and practical driving exam so they can be sat in one evening.
Licenses for motorbikes, cars and pickups can be issued under the scheme.
But there was a backlash when pictures of the application form appeared online and showed that authorities were requesting Twitter, Facebook and Instagram details.
Former attorney general Husnu Suood described the request as “government intrusion” and questioned the ethics of asking for private social media accounts. “What else wouldn’t they do to steal an election?” he asked, referring to the presidential polls scheduled for early September.
Mohamed Ameeth MP also asked why such information was needed.
But the deputy economic minister defended the request, saying it was for advertising purposes.
“We intend to use Facebook, Instagram, Viber and WhatsApp to get the message across to people in the future,” Abdullah Mohamed told the Maldives Independent. “These fields will be added in other forms used by Transport Authority in the future.
“Most Maldivian young people are now using social media,” he added. “In the past, we used to post announcements on the gazette to inform people of our awareness programmes or the services we provide and then we advertise on TV and radio. But that doesn’t work anymore.”
Hundreds of people queued up Friday for the application scheme, which closes Monday night.
My goodness why do they need our social media details even. This ehlakin promo is not worth it. I saw people waiting for their turn at 1 30 last night . In pink chairs i should add. If you relax and take the one week to get the license it's less stressful.
— azu (@mercurialazu) May 26, 2018
License Analytica: when they aim to infringe & abuse citizens personal data & privacy rights, what else wouldn't they do to steal an election? Can't ever accept govt intrusion in our lives. Not qualified to rule when they have no ethics – keeping the road safety issues aside. pic.twitter.com/f6HpwLjpCr
— Husnu Al Suood (@hsuood) May 26, 2018