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Plea In SC For Devising 'Social Media Profile Verification Mechanism'; Investigation Against Sale Of Sexually Explicit Content Online [Read Petition]

12 Aug 2020 5:56 AM GMT
Plea In SC For Devising Social Media Profile Verification Mechanism; Investigation Against Sale Of Sexually Explicit Content Online [Read Petition]
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A PIL has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking formulation of an efficient mechanism to avert the menace of fake social media accounts and prevent circulation of obscene, illegal content online.

Prevent Circulation of Illicit Content

The plea, filed by two law students— Skand Bajpai and Abhyudaya Mishra, seek institution of a proper investigation and legal proceedings against the users of social media profiles who are indulged in the advertisement, sale and procurement of illicit content (CSAM, rape videos) and private graphic information.

Further they seek formulation of a gender-neutral legislation, or an amendment to the existing laws to expressly criminalize revenge porn, morphing and impersonation.

They have also urged the Court to direct the concerned authorities to delete such illegal content and to formulate an efficient mechanism to deal with such content in the future.

Enhance intermediary accountability

It is asserted that the intermediary platforms, that carry such illicit content, should be made accountable, so as to deter such activities.

"There is a need to hold the intermediaries liable and accountable for the content featuring on their platform and increase their coordination and accountability with regard to Indian jurisdictions," the plea states.

Therefore, the Petitioners have urged the Top Court to formulate appropriate laws or amend the existing laws to increase the accountability of the intermediaries towards Indian jurisdictions, encourage mandatory reporting of CSAM and further make the intermediaries liable with regard to the content featured on their platforms.

They have also sought enforcement of Information Technology [Intermediary Guidelines (Amendment) Rules] 2018, which stipulates various safeguards to be observed by the intermediaries.

Regulate minor's access to social media

The Petitioners have also raised the issue of unchecked access to social media available to children. They have pointed out that while developed countries such as the US have laws governing age eligibility for using social media, there is no such law in India. As such, minors have open access to social media platforms where they are often "manipulated and exploited by the predators".

Accordingly they have prayed for formulation of an appropriate law regulating minor's access to social media and laying down appropriate age limit for such access in consonance with the present Indian legal framework.

Other Reliefs

Inter alia, the Petitioners seek that the Government be directed to

  • upgrade the National Education Policy and inculcate adolescent sex education as a compulsory subject, introduce a subject related to online safety, security and conduct.
  • frame appropriate law governing the verification mechanism of social media profiles along with curbing fake social media profiles including catfish accounts.

Click Here To Download Petition

Read Petition

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