Centre, Internet giants to “stamp out” objectionable material

The Supreme Court said on Thursday that the Centre and Internet giants, including Google, Microsoft and Facebook, were in agreement that videos of rape, child pornography and objectionable material needed to be “stamped out”.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and UU Lalit noted that intermediaries have “different reactions” to suggestions given earlier by the Centre, which included setting up pro-active monitoring tools for auto deletion of unlawful content by deploying artificial intelligence based tools.

“Insofar as the suggestions given by the Union of India as mentioned in the order dated November 28, 2018 are concerned, it appears that each of the different entities have a different reaction to them. Google and YouTube have one reaction. Facebook, Microsoft and WhatsApp each have different reactions,” the bench said in its order.

It said each of these entities would give a proposed or draft standard operating procedure (SOP) for the purpose of implementation of the suggestions given by the Centre.

“Everybody is agreed that the child pornography, rape and gang rape videos and objectionable material need to be stamped out. The proposed/draft SOP will be drafted on this premise,” the bench said.

It directed that the draft SOP be filed in the Supreme Court on December 10 and its copies be served to the counsel appearing for the Centre, petitioner and the lawyer assisting it as an amicus curiae (impartial adviser).

During the hearing, senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for WhatsApp, told the bench that they have an end-to-end encryption technology due to which it would not be possible to remove the content.

The Centre had last month suggested to the court that the intermediaries should deploy trusted flaggers for identifying and deletion of unlawful content and also set up of 24X7 mechanism for dealing with requisitions of law enforcement agencies.



(Featured Image: LawEscort)

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