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Child Porn Videos: It Will Not Be Possible To Remove The Contents Due To End-To-End Encryption Technology, Whatsapp Tells SC

Whatsapp has submitted before the Supreme Court that it will not be possible to remove the contents as they have an end-to-end encryption technology.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal made this submission before the Apex Court when it was discussing the suggestions given by Union of India to curb child pornography, rape and gang rape videos.

The Centre had suggested following actions to be taken by ‘intermediaries’ like Google, Whatsapp, and Facebook etc.

  • Setup proactive monitoring tools for auto deletion of unlawful content b deploying Artificial intelligence based tools
  • Deployment of trusted flaggers for identifying and deletion of unlawful content
  • Setting up of 24X7 mechanisms for dealing with requisitions of law enforcement agencies.
  • Appointment of India based contact officer and escalation officers (with name, designation, email, mobile number
  • Prompt disposal of requisitions of Law Enforcement Agencies to remove unlawful contents.

The bench comprising Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit observed: “it appears that each of the different entities have a different reaction to them. Google and YouTube have one reaction. Facebook, Microsoft and Whatsapp each have different reactions… Everybody is agreed that the child pornography, rape and gang rape videos and objectionable material need to be stamped out.”

It then directed the entities to give a proposed/draft SOP for the purpose of implementation of the suggestions given by Union of India.

The bench also ordered that the amount deposited in the Registry with accrued interest be disbursed for victims of Gaja cyclone to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, Tamil Nadu.

The Supreme Court was hearing a suo motu PIL registered on the basis of a letter from NGO-Prajwala to the effect that videos of sexual violence were being circulated in abundance via internet and Whatsapp.

During the last hearing, the centre had informed the Apex court that it has launched a Cyber crime portal www.cybercrime.gov.in.  The central government also made submissions regarding some other developments in compliance of earlier order of the court. They are:

  • Cyber crime portal www.cybercrime.gov.in has been launched. Over 1.06 lakhs visitors to the website till 28.11.2018 forenoon.
  • Nodal officer and one level above officers have been nominated by all States / UTs for Grievance redressal. This is uploaded on the Portal.
  • SOP has been finalized in consultation with Intermediaries and guidance of Amicus and petitioner’s advocate.
  • Meeting held with intermediaries on 12-11-18 & 26-11-18 and SOP on complaint handling finalized taking their inputs into consideration.
  • Concerned stakeholders including Amicus and Petitioner’s advocate will be invited to the meetings of existing inter-ministerial committee constituted under the chairmanship of JS (CIS) MHA for regular review of CP/RGR complaint handling mechanism
  • Draft agreement has been sent to the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) on 19-11-18 to access cyber tipline reports regarding missing and exploited children. Their reply is awaited
  • Commercial proposal from Photo DNA tool proposal has been received from Microsoft quoting Rs.4.5 crore to Rs.6 crore for various alternatives. Technical committee has been constituted to evaluate alternatives and two rounds of discussions have been held. Clarifications are awaited from Microsoft.
  • All India awareness campaign on Radio for promoting use of 3 cybercrime reporting portal and other cybercrime against women and children will start from first week of December. Order placed on BOC.
  • M/s Google has been approached for sharing their API developed for identifying CSAM
  • Keyword compilation of English, Hindi, Bengali and Kannada shared with Intermediaries. Keywords in other languages also being compiled.

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