The Centre has told the Supreme Court that it is taking the help of a US-based private body, which gives technical details on uploading of child porn to 99 countries, to curb the menace in India.In a status report to be filed in the top court, the Centre has said that US-based National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) acts as a resource centre for information about missing and exploited children and they provide “free” details through a secure channel to the central law enforcing agency of the US and 99 other nations.
The government has told a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra that as per information conveyed by the NCMEC, they are trying to establish the “secure link” with the law enforcing agency in the country.
“The NCMEC, USA is a private, non-profit organisation and acts as a national clearing house and resource centre for information about missing and exploited children. The NCMEC hotline provides technical details of any child porn uploading to the law enforcement agency concern in the USA and across the world in about 99 other countries,” the report said.
“This information is provided free, but through a secure channel to a central law enforcement agency. According to the information conveyed by the NCMEC, they have been trying to establish this secure link with an Indian law enforcement agency,” the government has told the apex court.
The report further said the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEIT) has sent a letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs, a copy of which has also been sent to the Ministry of Women and Child Development, requesting them to follow up for establishing communication with the NCMEC.
Recently, in a communication to the home ministry, the MEIT has said that the NCMEC has informed that “a large number of reports are available with them wherein illegal imagery related to child pornography/child abuse have been uploaded from Indian territory”.
“It is also understood that the NCMEC has been trying to establish a secure channel of communication with the CBI for sharing details in this regard since 2013.
“However, there is no concrete progress in the matter so far. Action on such reports can create a definitive deterrent mechanism for potential uploaders of such illegal imagery from India,” the communication said.
The status report also gave details about various other initiatives taken by the government to curb child pornography in the country.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand had on July 14 told the bench that the Centre has blocked 3,522 websites carrying child pornographic content last month and has asked the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to consider installation of jammers in schools to block access to such sites.
The government had said that installation of jammers in school buses was “not possible” and they were coming out with steps to deal with the menace in its entirety.
“We are coming out with steps which will deal with the situation in its entirety,” Anand had told the bench that also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar.
“The government has asked the CBSE to consider whether jammers can be installed in schools to curb access to such websites,” she had said.
The apex court had asked the government to file a status report within two days on the steps taken by it to stop child pornography.
The court is dealing with a petition which has sought a direction to the Centre to take appropriate steps to curb child pornography across the country.