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6 Dec 2016

SC notice to FB, Google on plea to ban sharing of rape videos

Bhadra Sinha, HT, 6 Dec 2016, NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court sought on Monday a response from internet search companies and social network Facebook on how to prevent the uploading of videos depicting sexual violence.
A bench of justices MB Lokur and UU Lalit issued notices to the India arms of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft after the Centre said as intermediaries they were responsible for withdrawing offensive material as and when uploaded.
The circulation of a clip on messaging apps showing a woman being gang-raped in Uttar Pradesh brought the issue in focus recently. Additional solicitor general Maninder Singh told the bench that search engines and Facebook, which owns the messaging service WhatsApp, must take steps to stop such circulation.
The bench was hearing a petition by the NGO Prajwala against the use of social media for airing videos containing sexual violence, saying the act caused severe mental agony to the victims of such assaults.
The top court has taken up concerns over cybercrime and misuse of social media. In an earlier instance, a bench headed by justice Dipak Misra came down heavily on the government for not clamping down on websites showing obscene content, prompting the Centre to hurriedly block over 800 sites. In another matter, justice Misra’s bench prohibited search engines from displaying advertisements of sex-selection tests or kits after a petition contended those were against domestic laws.

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