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Indian body sends notices to Google, WhatApp, Twitter after huge jump in child porno traffic

New Delhi (IANS): The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has taken cognizance of a research highlighting 95 per cent increase in online child porn traffic during the nationwide lockdown and sent notices to Google, WhatsApp and Twitter citing gaps on these platforms which make children vulnerable.

The NCPCR said in a statement on Saturday that while conducting an independent inquiry on the availability of online Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), it noticed that the pornographic materials are accessible through the apps available on Google Play Store.

“By mere downloading these apps from the platform, the user can access such materials. This is enabling the reach/accessibility to such materials, and hence it is a serious matter,” said the commission.

The NCPCR took cognizance of the research study of ICPF on CSAM in India, wherein it highlighted that the online child porn traffic from India has increased “by 95 per cent between March 24 and March 26, as compared to the average traffic before the lockdown.”

The study also said that millions of pedophiles have migrated online, making the internet extremely unsafe for children.

In the notice to WhatsApp, the commission said while conducting the independent inquiry on the availability of online CSAM, it noticed that there are certain links available to join “encrypted WhatsApp groups” and “CSAM and pornographic materials are rampantly present” in these groups.

“The links to these encrypted WhatsApp groups were found to be propagated and available on the internet. Any user by merely following these links can join these ‘encrypted WhatsApp groups’ and can obtain the CSAM and pornographic materials through these group chats on their phones,” the commission noted.

Further, there is also the possibility that the perpetrators are also present and active on these “encrypted WhatsApp groups”, which makes children even more vulnerable.

In the notice to Twitter, the commission said that while conducting an independent inquiry, it noticed that there are encrypted WhatsApp groups and the CSAM is rampantly present in these groups. The links to these groups were found to be propagated by various handles on Twitter. The commission is of the view that propagating links of these WhatsApp groups on Twitter handles is a serious matter.

“Further, it is seen that as per your standard terms and conditions, a person of 13 years and above is eligible to open an account on Twitter. If you are allowing children at the age of 13 to open an account, the commission is of the view that you can’t allow the other users to publish or propagate pornographic material, links etc. on Twitter,” read the notice to Twitter.

The commission has sought more information from these tech giants latest by April 30, 2020

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