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[Child pornography] Cybercrime portal’s purpose defeated if complainants have to run around after filing complaint: Supreme Court

The Court was hearing a case initiated suo motu in 2015 based on a letter written by an NGO Prajwala to the then Chief Justice of India HL Dattu. The letter/complaint was sent along with a pen drive of two rape videos on YouTube.

The Court had subsequently taken suo motu cognisance of the letter and explored the possibility of blocking videos of sexual assault and child pornography.

In March 2017, the Supreme Court had constituted a committee to assist and advise the Court on the feasibility of ensuring that videos depicting gang rape, child pornography and rape are not made available on the internet.

WhatsApp had in 2018 told the Supreme Court that the removal of objectionable content relating to child pornography from the platform was “not possible” on account of end-to-end encryption.

The Central government had later proposed certain actions that can be taken by Google and other similar entities to curtail circulation of such content. These proposals included setting up monitoring tools powered by Artificial Intelligence to facilitate auto-deletion of illegal content, and appointment of contact officers and escalation officers based out of India, among others.

The suggestions also included setting up of a round-the-clock mechanism to handle requisition of law enforcement agencies to look into complaints in this regard, as well as quick disposal of such requisitions to ensure deletion of unlawful content.

Specifically, the Court had directed that the launch of an Online Cyber Crime reporting portal be expedited in this regard.

The Court had also directed all these entities to submit a draft action plan/SOP for the implementation of these suggestions while making a note that all parties were in agreement that child pornography needs to be “stamped out”.

In May 2018, the Court had imposed costs of Rs 1 lakh each on Yahoo, Facebook Ireland, Facebook India, Google India, Google Inc., Microsoft and WhatsApp for their lethargic response to disclose steps taken to curb the circulation of child pornography on their platforms.

Source: Barandbench

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