The Centre today told the Supreme Court that it has blocked 3,522 websites carrying child pornographic content last month and asked the CBSE to consider installation of jammers in schools to block access to such sites.
The government told a three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra that installation of jammers in school buses was "not possible" and they were coming out with steps to deal with the menace of child pornography in its entirety.
"We are coming out with steps which will deal with the situation in its entirety," Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand told the bench that also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar.
"Jammers in school buses are not possible. Security issue cannot be overriden" raised by the petitioners, Anand said, adding the "government has asked the CBSE to consider whether jammers can be installed in schools to curb access to such websites."
The government said that in June, 3,522 websites hosting child pornographic contents have been blocked.
Anand told the apex court that the government would file a status report on the steps taken by it to stop child pornography.
The counsel for the petitioners, who have sought a direction to the Centre to take appropriate steps to curb child pornography, told the apex court that besides installing jammers in schools, the government should also install such equipment in school buses.
The bench, however, told the petitioners that it would not pass any order in the matter today but first peruse the status report to be filed by the government.
It asked the Centre to file the status report in two days and granted liberty to the counsel for the petitioner to file their suggestions so that "there can be a complete mechanism" in this regard.
"You (petitioners) know that we cannot pass any order today. We will go through the status report first and then you can also give suggestions," the bench said.
Later, sources in the know said that through the status report, the Centre would inform the apex court that the Interpol's 'worst of list' on online child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is being blocked regularly.
As per the procedure, "CBI as national nodal agency of Interpol, shares this list with government and the government orders the blocking of same through select internet service providers (ISPs)," they said.
They said an inter-ministerial committee, set up by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) for curbing online CSAM, has recommended that till such time a centralised mechanism is built in India to dynamically monitor websites/URLs containing online CSAM, the relevant ISPs should adopt and disable/remove the online CSAM dynamically.
Based on this, MeitY has order the ISPAI (Internet Service Providers Association of India) and DoT (Department of Telecommunication) to disable or remove access to child pornography sites by adopting IWF (internet watch foundation) list by July 31 to prevent the distribution and transmission of online CSAM in India.
The sources said that MeitY has communicated to the Home Ministry and Ministry of Women and Child Development and all states and union territories to ensure its compliance and recently, DoT has also issued letters to ISPs regarding this.
As per information received from US-based National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), they are trying to establish their secure link with the Indian law-enforcing agencies.
They also said that the government would apprise the court that the Home Ministry was establishing a Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCWPC) portal which is likely to be ready from October this year.
The MeitY has also requested Ministry of Women and Child Development to develop a mechanism for reporting online child abuse either on its own or in association with other stake holders, they said.
The Centre is also likely to refer to its earlier affidavit which had said there were a number of software tools that could be implemented at the user's end to block obscene and pornographic contents.
"In this regard, DoT has communicated to all ISPs requesting to make suitable arrangement to spread awareness among their subscribers about the use of parental control filters in the end users machines through messages of e-mail invoices, sms, websites etc," the sources said.
Regarding technological suggestions proposed by the petitioners to curb internet pornography, the DoT has constituted a committee to examine its technical feasibility.
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