Can rape videos be kept off the Internet? SC asks search engines; Google says not possible, here’s why


New Delhi: The Supreme Court today sought to know from search engines Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and social media platforms Facebook and WhatsApp if rape videos can be stopped from getting uploaded on Internet and their access can be restricted.

rape videos

A Bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur asked the companies to use “firewalls” such as the one China used to keep such content off the Internet.

“Anyone can upload any video he or she wishes on social media platforms without any fear. It puts the victim’s reputation at stake. If China can evolve such a technology why can’t you,” the Bench asked, after the companies said they would remove such content within 48 to 72 hours of receiving complaints about them.

Google, in its response, told the court that it is not possible because video clips of 400 hours get uploaded every minute.

“The company would need over five lakh additional employees to scan contents of each and every video clip which is not possible. If we get any complaint from a nodal agency, then action can be taken,” the counsel representing the software giant told the apex court.

The companies also argued against an “auto-block” mechanism — a suggestion made earlier — would affect materials for used for research.

The Centre said it is in the process of setting up a nodal agency to deal with crimes against women and children. The court was told that the central government had earmarked Rs 195.83 crore for a ‘Cyber Crime Prevention Against Women and Children’.

In February 2015, the court took suo motu cognisance of a letter sent by Prajwala, an NGO, highlighting instances of videos of gang rape being uploaded on Yahoo and WhatsApp messenger services. The NGO also sent two videos of gang rape.


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