[Answered] Highlight the steps taken by the government against the online circulation and sharing of Child Sexual Abusive Material (CSAM). What more needs to be done in this regard?

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Write some the steps taken by the government against the online circulation and sharing of Child Sexual Abusive Material (CSAM). Also write more measures to be done in this regard.

Conclusion: Write a way forward.

In a global compilation of reports of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) found online, India stands on top of the list, with 11.7% of the total reports followed by Pakistan, which contributes 6.8% of all reports.  Seeking, browsing, downloading or exchanging child pornography is an offence punishable under the IT Act.

The following steps are taken by the government against the online circulation of Child Sexual Abusive Material (CSAM):

  • Megh Chakra: It is being carried out following the inputs received from Interpol’s Singapore special unit. It is a pan-India drive against the circulation and sharing of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) conducted by the CBI. Operation Carbon
  • Aarambh India: a non-governmental organisation partnered with the Internet Watch Foundation, United Kingdom launched India’s first online reporting portal to report images and videos of child abuse.
  • National cybercrime reporting portal: by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for filing online complaints pertaining to child pornography and rape-gang rape.
  • CyberTipline: the National Crime Records Bureau signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), USA to receive CyberTipline reports to facilitate action against those who upload or share CSAM in India.
  • The ad hoc Committee of the Rajya Sabha made wide-ranging recommendations on the alarming issue of pornography on social media and its effect on children and society as whole.

What more needs to be done?

  • There is need of widening of the definition of ‘child pornography’ but also proactive monitoring, mandatory reporting and taking down or blocking CSAM by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
  • Permit the breaking of end-to-end encryption, build partnership with industry to develop tools using artificial intelligence for dark-web investigations, tracing identity of users, and prevent online payments for purchasing child pornography.
  • Encourage state parties to establish liability of legal persons.
  • Mandatory reporting of CSAM by ISPs.
  • Develop system of automatic electronic monitoring to reduce dependence on foreign agencies for the requisite information.
  • India should join INHOPE (International Association of Internet Hotlines) and establish its hotline to utilise Interpol’s secure IT infrastructure or collaborate with ISPs and financial companies by establishing an independent facility such as the IWF or NCMEC.

CBI along with agencies across the world are sharing information to combat child pornography by adopting new technologies and methods.  India needs to explore all options and adopt an appropriate strategy to fight the production and the spread of online CSAM. Children need to be saved.

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