Chennai: The Madras high court has directed the Union of India, represented by its secretary for Telecommunication and the secretary, Internet Service Providers Association of India (Ispai) to appear before the court on April 8 and explain as to why they have not responded to the court notice by filing their counter affidavit to a PIL relating to providing ‘Parental Window’ service (which could enable the parents to regulate the content which could be viewed by their wards).
A division bench comprising Justices N. Kirubakaran and S.S. Sundar gave the directive and posted to April 8, further hearing of a PIL, which sought a direction to the authorities to direct the ISP companies to provide ‘Parental Window” service as stipulated by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act through out the country, failing which to prosecute the ISP companies.
The bench said the grievance of the petitioner was that due to raise of internet usage, as the content which could be downloaded through these ISP providers, and most of them are child abusive, porn, date games like “Blue Whale Challengers” and these contents are available to them, free on internet. In foreign countries, it is understood that some methods have been implemented to prevent these contents being viewed in those countries. One best prevention method is by spreading awareness and also by providing “Parental Window” control by the service providers, which could enable the parents to regulate the content which could be viewed by their wards too, as mobile phones have become more indispensable, now-a-days. Therefore, through mobile phones, number of games could also be accessed, the bench added.
The bench said, “This court took a judicial notice of spurt in Cyber Crimes, which are inflicted against the children and women and as such they are threatened and black-mailed through cyber space. Even sexual offences are committed. Children and women are more vulnerable in cyber space and they should be sensitized about the merits and evils of cyber space”. In these circumstances, awareness as well as Parental Window was the most important remedy, which the petitioner has rightly sought for in this petition, the bench added.
The bench said though the Union of India, represented by its Secretary of Telecommunication has issued circular dated March 27, 2017, calling upon the Internet Service Providers to spread awareness among their subscribers about the use of Parental Control Filters in the end user machines, through messages of e-mail, invoices, SMS, Web-sites etc. it was not known as to whether it has been complied with. Though the Member Secretary, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and Member Secretary, Tamil Nadu Commission for Protection of Child Rights have filed their counter affidavits, the Union of India and the Internet Service Providers Association of India have not filed their counter affidavit till date. “Taking into consideration the importance of the case raised by the petitioner and the multiplicity of the cyber crimes, the role of the Union of India and Internet Service Providers Association of India is important in spreading the awareness and also to provide Parental Window”, the bench added and gave the directive for their appearance.