Block child sexual abuse content by July 31, govt tells ISPs

New Delhi: The government has directed Internet Service Providers (ISP) to block distribution and transmission of child sexual abuse content by July 31.

“ISP’s having cable landing station gateways/international long distance licences in India shall be required to adopt and implement IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) resources on or before July 31, 2017, to prevent distribution and transmission of online CSAM in to India,” the Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) said in an order dated April 18, 2017.

The directive has been issued after the recommendation of an inter-ministerial committee that was constituted to recommend solutions to address the issue of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) following a Supreme Court order.

The panel noted that most of the CSAM is being hosted outside India and the websites or web links to access such unlawful content are dynamic in nature and frequently changing which makes it difficult to block such content.

The panel noted that no centralised mechanism exists in India to monitor online CSAM.

However, it noted that an entity, Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), maintains such a list of dynamically updated websites and web pages containing online CSAM.

The IWF has been adopted by many countries and is already being implemented by leading online service providers in other jurisdictions but not in India.

The IWF resources are also available to ISPs on a subscription basis either individually or collectively.

The ministry (Meity) has asked all the ISPs to continue to observe the existing due diligence requirements prescribed by the central government under the Information Technology Act 2000 and rules and regulations.

The publication or transmission of material depicting children in sexually explicit act or conduct in electronic form is heinous crime, specifically prohibited by section 67B of the IT Act 2000.

The Supreme Court in an order dated July 12, 2013, had directed the government to tackle the CSAM issue.