Gujarat Police is on a 'digital combing' drive of mobile phones belonging to passersby in the state's Valsad district, according to a Times of India report. The drive meant to crack down on the circulation of porn is still on-going, Valsad Superintendent of Police Rajdeepsinh Jhala confirmed to MediaNama. "We started digital combing as investigation because in most cases of sexual assault, especially in the district’s industrial areas, the offenders are porn addicts. We have asked residents in the area to report any suspicious behaviour in the area. If we receive any such reports, we ask the suspect to surrender their phone for a few minutes. Only if the person agrees, our officers scroll through their gallery and files to check for pornographic content.” – SP Jhala Digital combing is going on in tandem with “normal combing” which he described as a stop-and-search procedure. The police have arrested and booked three individuals —Bapan Tudu (20), Tapas Tudu (21), and Jivan Hansada (19) — under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and IT Act, 2000. Cops got suspicious of the trio as they were keenly watching something on their mobile screens and they hid the devices as soon as they saw the cops, TOI revealed in its report. SP Jhala said that the police officials are particular about consent. But under the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 or any other statute, they do not have the power to stop citizens and “request” that they unlock their mobile phones and proceed to search the…
Gujarat Police scan phones for porn in the absence of legal grounds
Instances of warrantless phone searches have cropped up in other cities too.
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