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SC notice to Centre on petition to regulate minors’ access to social media

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian sought the government’s response on the plea filed by law students Skand Bajpai and Abhyudaya Mishra.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: October 14, 2020 1:23:53 am
A Digital SisterhoodAn official release last month announcing the Cabinet's recommendation to the Governor regarding the ordinance had said the Kerala High Court had earlier directed the state police to take steps against hate campaigns and attacks through social media.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre on a plea urging it to direct the government to come up with laws to regulate minors’ access to social media as well as a mechanism to verify profiles and criminalise morphing and revenge pornography.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian sought the government’s response on the plea filed by law students Skand Bajpai and Abhyudaya Mishra.

The duo wanted the apex court to direct the Law Ministry to frame new laws or amend existing ones so as to make intermediaries more amenable to Indian jurisdiction, encourage mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse material and make them liable for content featured on their platforms.

It pointed out that unlike in the US, there is no law governing age eligibility for using social media in India.

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Under US law, the consent of parents or guardian of children below the age of 13 years is taken into consideration while processing data belonging to these children, it said, and added that “however this also does not create any age related barrier in access to social media or internet”.

Citing reports about increased search for “child porn”, it said that the concept of revenge porn, online sale of private graphic information and such content on social media has created a “harassing, exploitative and paedophilic environment” on these platforms.

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