The Centre today told the Supreme Court that they have taken several steps to curb online child sexual abuse contents, including blocking of 3,522 websites carrying child pornographic materials in June this year. The government, in its report filed before a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar, said that Interpol’s ‘worst of list’ on online child sexual abuse material (CSAM) was being blocked regularly.
It said the government has constituted an inter- ministerial committee to curb online CSAM and the panel has recommended that till such time a centralised mechanism is built in India to dynamically monitor websites/URLs containing online CSAM, the relevant internet service providers (ISPs) should adopt and disable or remove such contents on the list of Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). The UK-based IWF is working to eliminate online child sexual abuse contents.
The government has also told the apex court that Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has ordered the Internet Service Providers Association of India and the Department of Telecommunication to disable or remove access to child pornography sites by adopting the IWF list to prevent the distribution and transmission of online CSAM in India.
During the hearing, Attorney General K K Venugopal told the court that a status report on the issue was ready. “Let it be supplied to all concerned,” the bench said and posted the matter for hearing in the first week of October. Meanwhile, advocate Vijay Panjawani, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that he has filed a response to the status report filed by the government.
“Any further steps required to be taken by the Union of India shall be taken in the meantime,” the bench said. In his reply filed on behalf of the petitioner, Panjawani has alleged that the Centre has not shown “any commitment to take serious action to block child and adult porn websites”. It claimed that government has “already paid or was ready to pay” 40,000 pounds to the IWF for procuring the addresses of child porn websites.
Regarding the contention that 3,522 websites have been blocked, the petitioner has claimed that this statement was not supported by an affidavit. The Centre had earlier told the apex court that they have asked the CBSE to consider installation of jammers in schools to block access to such sites and steps to deal with the menace of child pornography in its entirety was on the anvil. The apex court was hearing a petition which has sought direction to the Centre to take appropriate steps to curb the menace of child pornography across the country.