Child abuse, sexual abuse, ISP, block child pornography
[Representational Image] Indian government orders ISPs to take IWF’s help to combat child pornography circulationCreative Commons

The Indian government has passed directives to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to take immediate steps to curb circulation of child pornography content in the country. It has asked ISPs to refer to Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) resources to red-flag the illegal websites containing Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM).

In December 2016, the government had formed an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to look into the complaints of CSAM and other illegal materials circulating online.

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"The IMC observed that most of such online CSAM is being hosted outside India and the websites/URLs containing such content are dynamic in nature and frequently changing, making it difficult to identify and block such content. No centralised mechanism exists in India to monitor online CSAM," the ministry said in a statement.

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Since the government is yet to build their own infrastructure to monitor such illegal websites and URLs ( Uniform Resource Locators), it has recommended ISPs to refer to the IWF and block them before July 31, 2017.

Under the Information Technology Act, 2000, ISPs with cable landing station gateways or international long distance licences in India are obligated to follow the government instruction, failing which, they risk getting their licences revoked and get punished (with fines).

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As per Section 67B of the Information Technology Act, 2000, the publication or transmission of material depicting children in a sexually explicit act or conduct in electronic form is a considered a heinous crime and comes with serious punishment. On first conviction, the person will get imprisonment of up five years and with a fine which may extend to Rs.10 lakh and in the event of second or subsequent conviction, the imprisonment may extend to seven years and the fine may extend to Rs. 10 lakh.