Governments across the world are working proactively to remove online content related to child abuse. In one such move, an ad hoc committee appointed by the Rajya Sabha asked internet companies such as Google, Twitter, TikTok, and ShareChat about ways to curb child pornography. The committee also scrutinised these companies on how they are making their platforms free from online child abuse.
One of the representatives of the meeting suggested the committee to follow the similar provisions based on the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The member also proposed setting up a body identical to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) — a regulatory body that keeps an eye on online media platforms — in the US.
According to a report by Business Standard, one of the members of the committee asked the representatives of these companies on how they are making the internet a safer place by removing child pornography from their platforms. Rajya Sabha had empanelled this committee, in December 2019, to look at possible legislative provisions to address the exploitation of children online.
The meeting was appointed by Google’s India manager for public policy Rahul Jain; Twitter India policy head Mahima Kaul; ShareChat’s head of public policy and policy communications Berges Malu, and representatives of HERD Foundation Amol Deshmukh and Suchika Gupta.
During the meeting, HERD Foundation, an organisation addressing prevailing social issues, suggested using new-age technologies such as blockchain to keep a track of repeat offenders. Moreover, Facebook cited an example of its partnership with the Malaysian government on how the company is curbing child porn, especially on its WhatsApp platform.
Bytedance-owned TikTok, which even faced a ban in India last year after it was accused of spreading pornographic content, was also asked to highlight its efforts for curbing child pornography.
Member of Parliament Vinay P Sahasrabuddhe, Jaya Bachchan, Rajeev Chandrashekar, MV Rajeev Gauda, Roopa Ganguly, Tiruchi Siva, among others, have been appointed as the members of this panel. The committee is expected to submit its first report this month.
According to an annual report published in October 2019 by the Ministry of Home Affairs, around 71 videos of child pornography, rape and gang-rape, among other offences, were taken off from social media. The government had also sent a list of 500 keywords related to these offences to Google, Yahoo, Facebook, WhatsApp and Microsoft to curb them down from their platform.
Moreover, an online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention and Investigation Unit was established by the Central Bureau of Investigation to look into matters related to child pornography as well.