This Article is From Oct 06, 2023

"Act On Child Pornography, Or Lose Legal Immunity": Centre To Tech Giants

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the government is determined to build a safe and trusted internet.

'Act On Child Pornography, Or Lose Legal Immunity': Centre To Tech Giants

The notices also call for the implementation of measures such as content moderation algorithms.

New Delhi:

Cracking down on the availability of child pornography online, the Centre has sent notices to X, YouTube and Telegram and warned that they will lose their protection from legal liability unless they act on the issue "without delay". The platforms have been asked to permanently remove, or disable access to, such content. 

Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, said "We have sent notices to X, Youtube and Telegram to ensure that there is no Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). The government is determined to build a safe and trusted internet under the IT rules."

Issuing a stern warning to the platforms, the minister said, "The IT rules, under the IT Act, lay down strict expectations from social media intermediaries that they should not allow criminal or harmful posts on their platforms. If they do not act swiftly, their safe harbour under section 79 of the IT Act would be withdrawn and consequences under the Indian law will follow," 

The 'safe harbour' clause in the Information and Technology Act, 2000, provides legal immunity to platforms against content shared by their users.

The notices, issued by the Ministry of Electronics and IT, also call for the implementation of proactive measures, such as content moderation algorithms and reporting mechanisms, to prevent the dissemination of CSAM in the future.

"The Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, provides the legal framework for addressing pornographic content, including CSAM. Sections 66E, 67, 67A, and 67B of the IT Act impose stringent penalties and fines for the online transmission of obscene or pornographic content," a release issued by the ministry said. 

This is not the first time that the removal of the 'safe harbour' clause has been brought up by the government. In March, Mr Chandrasekhar had said that the Centre was reconsidering the clause as part of an overhaul of digital laws.