IT intermediaries norms to be strict on checking child porn

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Published: January 7, 2020 5:01:52 AM

Another source explained that even though there are various legal avenues to check such content, but the dynamic nature of technology sometimes makes tracking difficult.

IT intermediary, child porn, india news, MeitY, NCPCRAfter wide discussions with various stakeholders, the government felt that a more stringent approach is required to tackle child porn.

The much-awaited guidelines for IT intermediaries, which are expected to come out by January 15, will also include measures to check the spread of pornographic content.

Sources said that the ministry of electronics and IT (MeitY) will soon release the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2018, replacing the rules notified in April 2011, on its portal. In October last year, the ministry had informed the Supreme Court that the guidelines will be notified by January 15, 2019.

Intermediary is an entity which offers services like delivery of online content to the end user. It includes internet service providers (ISPs), social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter as well as search engines like Google.

“After wide discussions with various stakeholders, the government felt that a more stringent approach is required to tackle child porn. There have been complaints by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on cyber crime violations related to child pornographic content. These intermediary guidelines could act as an added filter to weed out such content,” said one of the sources.

Another source explained that even though there are various legal avenues to check such content, but the dynamic nature of technology sometimes makes tracking difficult.

For instance, the IT Act, 2000, has provisions to deal with prevailing cyber crimes. Section 67B provides stringent punishment for publishing, browsing or transmitting child pornography in electronic form. Similarly, the IT (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2011, require that intermediaries shall observe due diligence while discharging their duties and shall inform users of computer resources to act accordingly.

“There is no doubt that IT has led to economic growth and societal development, but this is also a fact that there has been an exponential rise in fake news, hate content, porn, etc, which requires that now governments will have to be on their toes in terms of reviewing legislations and legal avenues so that they are in tune with the times. Child porn is a very serious issue, which needs to be addressed as many times as required,” he added.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, a total of 7, 5, 8 and 17 cases of cyber crime against children were registered during 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively, under section 67B of the IT Act 2000. Besides, a total of 40, 94 and 47 cases were registered during 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively, under section 14 (using child for pornographic purposes) and section 15 (storage of pornographic material involving child) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.

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