The Centre today informed the Supreme Court that it has managed to block nearly 3,500 child pornography sites and has also taken other measures to prevent further such material appearing on the internet
A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra asked the Centre, represented by Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand to file a comprehensive affidavit stating all the measures within two days
“The centre is given liberty to file a detailed status report so that there can be a comprehensive mechanism in this regard”, the bench said adjourning the matter by four weeks.
Directed by the bench to crackdown on child pornography and rising instance of online abuse of kids, the Centre had on December 18 last year told the apex court that it has for the first time roped in international police agency Interpol for the purpose.
It is to be noted that on February 26, the court had noted that there is a surge in photographs and videos on the internet showing kids being sexually exploited and also sharp rise in the number of child pornographic sites and asked the centre to act immediately.
"IT ministry has approved a formal agreement wherein Department of Telecommunications will obtain list maintained by INTERPOL containing domain names hosting child sexual abuse contents and act as an appropriate agency of the government to direct its licensee ISPs to expeditiously remove or disable access to material found in violation of the IT Act. Further the mechanism to obtain the list containing domain names hosting contents of child sexual abuse is being worked out in consultation with the CBI.", an affidavit filed in the court by the IT ministry said.
The top court asked the Centre in February to suggest ways to ban child pornography in all forms in the country saying that the nation cannot "afford to carry on any experiment" in the name of "liberty or freedom of speech and expression".
The SC was hearing PILs filed by Indore-based advocate Kamlesh Vaswani and Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association seeking a direction to the government to adopt various measures towards improvement in the effectiveness of blocking child pornography on the Internet and to eliminate it.
RP Saxena, co-ordinator of the cyber Laws and e-security group of the government, said in the affidavit that a meeting was convened recently to seek cooperation and support from Internet Service Providers, which in turn can play an important role by blocking or disabling the lists containing domain names/URLs/website addresses hosting child pornography content.
Interpol is a major source of getting access to such lists of websites containing child sexual abuse. The agency maintains a regular update of the "worst" of such sites. Interpol has been tasked by the UN General Assembly in 2009 to maintain and disseminate to the national central bureaus a worldwide list of URLs, which contains these websites that publish the most severe child abuse material. Ordering a crackdown against child porn, the SC had said that one needs to draw a distinct line between art and obscenity and child pornography cannot be justified in the name of freedom of speech and expression.