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SC asks Google, FB, WhatsApp to furnish details on objectionable videos

SC asks Google, FB, WhatsApp to furnish details on objectionable videos

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked Google, Yahoo, Facebook and WhatsApp to furnish the details of complaints they have received in India about uploading of objectionable contents on child pornography, rape and gang rape.

The court asked them to provide details the internet majors received last year and this year till August 31 and also about the action taken by them on such complaints.

A bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and U Lalit directed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to notify it of the number of prosecution under the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) 2012, during this period, reports DC.

“We would like the participating companies Google, Google India, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook and WhatsApp to place affidavits regarding number of complaints they have received from India about the objectionable contents concerning child pornography, rape and gang rape for the year and till August 31 and the action that has been taken on it,” the bench said.

The court was hearing a letter sent to the Chief Justice of India H L Dattu by Hyderabad-based NGO Prajwala, along with two rape videos in a pen drive. The top court had on its own taken notice of the letter about the posting of these videos on WhatsApp and asked CBI to launch a probe to apprehend the culprits.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of the companies, said they would come to know about the contents of the committee’s report only when they were provided with its copy. He also argued that they wanted to know what were the recommendations which the committee wanted to place in the public domain.

To this, the apex court directed that the proposals and recommendations contained in the report be supplied to the lawyers representing the participating companies. The court also asked the MHA to file its affidavit in two weeks.

Earlier, cyber security officials, who function under the CBI, had told the bench that the internet was a “wild highway” and blocking objectionable content at the source was a technical challenge for which clear guidelines need to be issued to stop the circulation of such material.

The Centre had informed the court that it would set up a specialised agency to block and curb the sharing of sexual offence videos on social networking platforms.

The NGO had suggested that MHA should have a tie-up with YouTube and WhatsApp to ensure that such offensive videos are not uploaded and the culprits punished.