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MeitY ropes in DoT to enforce ban on online child pornography

The Ministry of of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has roped in the Department of Telecom to help in implementing its order of blocking online Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM)in the country, reports The Hindu BusinessLine.

In May, the ministry had issued an interim order that made mandatory for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to implement UK-based not-for-profit agency Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)’s  resources by July 31. Following the implementation of IWF, a list of websites and URLs containing child porn or material of similar nature had to be  removed or blocked by July end. However, The Hindu BusinessLine reports that only handful of operators did so. According to the publication’s report, only few operators such as Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Telecommunications and Reliance Jio have blocked CSAM.

The MeitY want DoT’s help because ISPs operate under a licence issued by the telecom department, although the content regulation comes under the purview of Meity.

According to a DailyMail report,  India is one of the biggest contributors and consumers of child pornography despite a crackdown against such material online.  According to the report, 35-38 per cent of the total porn uploaded on the web is related to children or teenagers in the country. And the most searched keywords are- ‘schoolgirls’, ‘teens’ and ‘desi girls’.

Why the ISPs have not implemented- Vague order!

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After government’s order, the ISP Association of India had sent a letter to the Indian government, saying that ISPs are “free not to disable any of the 857 URLs, as given in the list, which do not have child pornographic content”, is vague and un-implementable. ISPAI said that they do not have any control over the content on those websites, given that the “content owner can change the content any moment without any information to ISPs. More here and here.Child Pornography, pornography, Internet, MeitY, DoT,  

Also Read: Why 16 year old Akash Narwala wants the Supreme Court to ban online pornography

Other govt initiatives to curb child abuse and sexual assault

– A National Alliance against online child sexual abuse was formed by the ministry of women and child development in January. This was in response to a consultation by the same ministry which sought to bring a common definition of child pornography, including amending sections of the IT Act and POSCO.

-In December 2015, the Supreme Court sought the central government’s view on setting up a pan-India agency which would look into increased proliferation of rape videos and child pornography shared via WhatsApp and Facebook groups.

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