Nation Current Affairs 02 Feb 2017 Supreme Court asks s ...

Supreme Court asks search engines to build web firewall on sex crimes

Published Feb 2, 2017, 2:04 am IST
Updated Feb 2, 2017, 7:44 am IST
Supreme Court of India (Photo: AP)
 Supreme Court of India (Photo: AP)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed internet search engines Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and besides social media applications such as Facebook and Whatsapp to come out with a “firewall”, similar to the one developed in China, to automatically prevent the uploading of any explicit sexual contents such as video clips of rapes and other cases of sexual violence.

A bench comprising Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Uday Lalit has granted three weeks’ time to the search engines and social media websites to spell out how the mechanism will work.

The Bench did not agree with the submissions advanced on behalf of Google and others that they would remove the objectionable content withing 48 to 72 hours — saying there was no need for such a firewall.

The Bench also wondered why the operators were shying away from developing such a mechanism, when China could do so.

Earlier, counsel Aparna Bhat for petitioner NGO Prajwala said that China had successfully developed a “firewall” to prevent offensive material from going online. No wonder, she said, “the technology had gained the sobriquet, Great Firewall of China”.

Senior counsel Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for Google, told the court that any such auto block mechanism would seriously hurt search material for research and other legal purposes. For instance, he said that if any auto-block method was developed to say, block a phrase such as “gang-rape”, then even legal and archived information on films like Damini would get erased forever. Damini, revolved around the gang rape of a domestic help.

Rs 195 crore for special cyber crime unit
The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed internet search engines like Google and Yahoo, and social networks Facebook and WhatsApp to come up with a “firewall” to automatically prevent uploading of any explicit sexual contents.

On behalf of the Centre, additional solicitor general Maninder Singh told the court  the Centre would allocate Rs 195.83 cr towards setting up a “Cyber Crime Prevention Against Women and Children” cell to combat the menace of such horrendous crimes. The amount has been earmarked for three years.

The apex court had in February 2015 taken suo motu cognisance of a letter written to the then Chief Justice by an NGO, along with a pendrive containing two videos highlighting the crime committed by a gang and seeking appropriate action against the culprits.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi


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