National

Panel suggests steps to curb child porn

The House committee has recommended a multi-pronged strategy to tackle the menace

A parliamentary panel has recommended a code of conduct for Internet service providers (ISPs) and strengthening the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to curb child pornography.

The report, prepared by an ad hoc committee set up by the Rajya Sabha and led by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, was submitted to the Chairman of the House on January 25. The report was tabled by Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday. It recommends a multi-pronged strategy detailing technological, institutional, social and educational as well as State-level measures.

Among its key recommendations is a code of conduct or a set of guidelines for ensuring child safety online. It puts a greater onus on ISPs to identify and remove child sexual abuse material (CSAM) as well as report such content and those trying to access them to the authorities under the national cybercrime portal.

 

It has also called for strengthening the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) so that it can serve as the nodal body for curbing child pornography. “It should be empowered suitably to deal with the added responsibilities. The capabilities required in the NCPCR should include technology, cyberpolicing and prosecution,” the panel has proposed along with an inter-ministerial task force.

The committee has delved into great detail in using technology to curb circulation of child porn such as breaking end-to-end encryption to trace its distributors of child pornography, mandatory applications to monitor children’s access to pornographic content, employing photo DNA to target profile pictures of groups with CSAM, some of which are likely to lead to concerns over privacy and misuse.“Most of these are steps in the right direction and will help in creating a safer eco system, but some of the suggestions need a closer examination. For instance, asking ISPs to report content in addition to blocking and filtering may not be practical. The suggestion to break encryption may also just lead to traffic moving to different platforms,” says Siddharth P, co-director, Aarambh. He adds that there is also a need to develop a victim-centric strategy instead of just focusing on prosecution. He warns against “over-criminalisation” through misuse of provisions that penalise sexting and grooming, i.e. use of Internet to develop a sexual relationship with a minor, by punishing older consenting adolescents too.

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 6:13:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/panel-suggests-steps-to-curb-child-porn/article30756641.ece

Next Story