The Supreme Court on Thursday, 6 December, said 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”.

Instant messaging application WhatsApp, however, reportedly informed the Supreme Court that it won’t be possible for it to remove pornographic content across its platform.

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 24×7 mechanism for dealing with requisitions of law enforcement agencies.

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 28 November 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.

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“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.

The court was hearing a matter following a letter sent in 2015 to then Chief Justice of India HL Dattu by Hyderabad-based NGO Prajwala, along with two rape videos in a pen-drive.

The court had on its own taken cognisance of the letter and asked the CBI to launch a probe to apprehend the culprits.

The NGO’s letter had also mooted the idea of maintaining a national sex offenders’ register which should contain details of persons convicted for offences like eve-teasing, stalking, molestation and other sexual assaults.

(With inputs from PTI)

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