Prohibit the download of TikTok: HC

Says inappropriate content is being made available to children; wants law enacted

April 04, 2019 01:23 am | Updated 01:23 am IST - MADURAI

Taking cognisance of the increase in cyber crimes, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to prohibit the download of TikTok mobile application. Media houses were directed to prohibit the telecast of TikTok videos.

A Division Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and S.S. Sundar asked the Centre whether an Act similar to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of USA would be enacted in India to prevent children from becoming victims of cyber and online crimes. It has sought Centre’s response in this regard.

The court said as long as TikTok was used in jest there should be no problem. However, when such applications are being used for crude humour against innocent parties, even television channels telecasting such videos, are liable to be prosecuted. Nobody can be pranked or made a subject of mockery amounting to violation of privacy, the court said.

The court observed that inappropriate contents were being made available to children. Majority of the teenagers were playing pranks, gaffing around with duet videos and sharing split screen with strangers. This could expose the vulnerable ones to sexual predators.

The court took cognisance of the fact that countries like Indonesia and Bangladesh had banned ‘Tik Tok’ application and the USA had enacted the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act to safeguard children.

Such an Act was necessary for India, as more offences on women and children are being reported every day.

Cyber crimes and economic crimes are increasing, bringing the security of the country under threat.

Even after the ‘Blue Whale Game’ menace was tackled with the intervention of the court, the authorities have failed to learn their lessons, the court said.

The government has got the social responsibility to take appropriate steps to prevent such applications and take actions against the violators without waiting for the orders of the court.

The court was hearing the public interest litigation petition filed by advocate S. Muthukumar of Madurai who sought a direction to ban the ‘Tik Tok’ mobile application. The case was adjourned to April 16.

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