The Supreme Court has asked intermediaries like Google, Microsoft, Youtube, Facebook, and WhatsApp to give their standard operating procedure to remove and block sex crime videos.
“Everybody is agreed that the child pornography, rape and gang rape videos and objectionable material need to be stamped out,” a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit said.
The court told them to file their draft standard operating procedure, based on the premise that videos and materials of sexual offences from different sites have to be removed by December 10.
Messenger service, WhatsApp, however, represented by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, maintained that they have an end-to-end encryption technology due to which it will not be possible to remove the contents.
The court was examining a suo motu petition arising out of a letter by Hyderabad-based NGO ‘Prajwala’ in 2015 for taking measures to check uploading of rape or gang rape videos.
The Union government, represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, has indicated that there are certain actions required to be taken by the intermediaries, including setting up of proactive monitoring tools for auto-deletion of unlawful content by deploying artificial intelligence based tools.
It also sought direction to them for actions like deployment of trusted flaggers for identifying and deletion of unlawful content, setting up of 24X7 mechanism for dealing with requisitions of law enforcement agencies, appointment of India based contact officer and escalation officers (with name, designation, email, mobile number) and prompt disposal of requisitions of law enforcement agencies to remove unlawful contents.
Notably, Facebook and WhatsApp have started public awareness programmes to check proliferation of fake videos.
The Union government’s Ministry of Home Affairs has developed and launched a cybercrime portal and also started an all India awareness campaigns on radio for promoting its use for reporting the cyber crimes against women and children.
It was earlier agreed that certain keywords were to be incorporated with pop up warnings on searches relating to rape, gang rape as well as child sexual abuse videos and websites. Such keywords were compiled in English, Hindi, Bengali and Kannada and shared with intermediaries.