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Break end-to-end encryption to trace child porn distributors, make ISPs liable: Recommendations from Rajya Sabha Committee

Jairam Ramesh, M. Venkaiah Naidu
Jairam Ramesh gives report on child porn to M. Venkaiah Naidu. Source: Jairam Ramesh gives report on child porn to M. Venkaiah Naidu. Source: VPSecretariat/Twitter

To curb online child sexual abuse material (CSAM), an ad hoc Rajya Sabha Committee has recommended that law enforcement agencies be permitted to break end-to-end encryption to trace abusers, and that internet service providers give parents family-friendly filters. The ad hoc Committee, headed by Jairam Ramesh, made 40 recommendations to prevent sexual abuse of children and prohibit access and circulation of child pornography on social media in its report to M. Venkaiah Naidu on January 25. The Committee heard from Ministries of Women and Child Development, Electronics and IT, and Home Affairs. It also heard from National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, TRAI, Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, ByteDance (TikTok), Twitter and Sharechat. HERD Educational and Medical Research Foundation, Centre for Child Rights and Internet Freedom Foundation also made their representations. The Committee was formed by Naidu on December 12. These recommendations come at time when the Intermediary Guidelines (Amendment) Rules 2018 are expected to be notified by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) some time this week. Among the proposed changes to the guidelines, intermediaries will have to enable tracing of an originator of information on their platform. The responsibility of online intermediaries would ideally be defined by these rules. We have reached out to MeitY to understand if these recommendations will have an effect on the Rules that are yet to be notified. Recommendations: Amend the Information Technology Act, 2000: Make intermediaries responsible for proactively identifying and removing CSAM, and for reporting it to Indian and foreign…

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