‘WhatsApp, apps not cooperating on porn issue’

Platforms like WhatsApp and Signal do not cooperate with law enforcement agencies citing end-to-end encryption and don’t even honour lawful requisitions, government officials have told a Rajya Sabha panel looking into the issue of pornography on social media and its effects on children.
‘WhatsApp, apps not cooperating on porn issue’

New Delhi

Earlier this month, an ad-hoc committee of the Rajya Sabha was formed by the Upper House Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu on the “alarming issue” of pornography on social media and its effects on children and society as a whole. The panel, which includes 14-members from ten political parties, has held several meetings on the issue. It also called upon various stakeholders including Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), telecom regulator TRAI and social media platforms.

Appearing before the panel, MEITY in a note said the ministry faces many legal challenges from social media platforms on the issue of pornography as their servers are abroad and they “claim to be governed by laws of hosting country when information for investigation is sought”.

It further said the law enforcement officials do not have explicit powers for undercover operations, which have become essential in the wake of peer to peer encrypted social media services and increasing use of dark web for circulation of child sex abuse material. The committee, chaired by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, is expected to submit a report next month.

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