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SC Orders Committee to Assess Govt’s Adoption of Online Child Safety Measures

SC directs a committee to oversee approach on tackling child pornography online as govt argues that Court oversight may no longer be required

Yesterday, the Supreme Court directed a court-appointed expert committee tackling the dissemination of child pornography online to assess whether the Indian government had successfully adopted its earlier recommendations, reported LiveLaw. A Division Bench comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Vikram Nath directed the committee to submit its report in a sealed cover within six weeks. The matter will be listed after eight weeks. The Court was hearing arguments by amicus curiae N.S. Nappinai and counsel Aparna Bhat in a 2015 case concerning the dissemination of child pornography and abuse on WhatsApp. The Court took suo motu cognisance of the case in 2015 following a letter sent to then Chief Justice H.L. Dattu from Prajwala, a Hyderabad-based anti-trafficking NGO. Members of the expert committee themselves, both Nappinai and Bhat highlighted the faults in approaches taken by the government and intermediaries to remove such content, and urged for strict action to be taken against the originator and people transmitting it. The counsels argued that while the government has accepted the recommendations in principle, their implementation leaves much to be desired. Why it matters: India, like many countries, is experimenting with its statutory regime to protect children online. A new data protection bill details specific protections for children's data and privacy. The IT Rules, which govern content moderation online, outlaw pedophilic, pornographic, and material harmful to children online. Even the current case has led to various developments supporting children's safety online. However, while these are important and necessary steps, their impact on a child's experience of the…

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