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In online clean-up, Home Ministry gets sites to take off 71 videos

A list of 500 key words used in searching such videos was compiled and shared with Internet service providers such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, WhatsApp and Microsoft.

, ET Bureau|
Oct 29, 2019, 07.16 AM IST
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According to the Home Ministry’s report, a total of 1,06,958 cases of crime against children were registered in the country during 2016.
New Delhi: As many as 71 videos of child pornography, rape and gang-rape, among other offences, were taken off from social media after registration of 33 first information reports following the intervention of the Union Home Ministry, according to the ministry’s annual report released last week. A list of 500 key words used in searching such videos was compiled and shared with Internet service providers such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, WhatsApp and Microsoft, officials told ET.

In its report for 2018-19, the ministry said, “More than 14 lakh persons have visited the cybercrime reporting portal while over 10,000 complaints were filed till March 31, 2019.” The portal was launched in September 2018 to provide a centralised platform to enable citizens to report online content pertaining to child pornography, child sexual abuse material or sexually explicit contents. It was set up after much delay on the directions of Supreme Court, which had acted on a petition filed by non-governmental organisation Prajwala highlighting the availability of child porn and rape and gang-rape videos online and seeking measures to check the menace. The online portal provides two options for reporting complaints-anonymous and report and track.

Officials said the complainant or victim can report the incident of online content, after which it is taken up by state police authorities for investigation. “Evidences such as website addresses and attachments in common document, image and video formats can be uploaded on the portal. The home ministry facilitates blocking and removal of the reported content if found unlawful,” said a home ministry official, who did not wish to be identified.

“Social media platforms like Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are required to comply with the request from law enforcement agencies within 36 hours for taking down objectionable content and lewd messages online,” said the official. Earlier, social media platforms had 72 hours to remove the content. But after a spate of killings in incidents of lynching, the government asked them to step up the vigil.

The ministry also gave its approval this year for signing of a memorandum of understanding between the National Crime Records Bureau and the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) of the United States to enable accessing of the CyberTipline reports. The CyberTipline is the NCMEC’s centralised reporting system for the online exploitation of children.

According to the Home Ministry’s report, a total of 106,958 cases of crime against children were registered in the country during 2016. Kidnapping and abduction accounted for 52.3% crimes against children that year, followed by cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (34.4%) including child rape. The rate of crime against children was recorded at 24 per 100,000 children.
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