Regulators

Crime videos notice: SC asks Silicon Valley giants to reply by 9 January

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MUMBAI: The Supreme Court of India has sent notices to Facebook, Google and others over sharing of cyber crime videos. The two, and Yahoo and Microsoft have been asked to reply to the notice by NGO Prajwala by 9 January.

The apex court had issued the notices on the plea seeking to curb the sharing of videos displaying sexual assault and cyber crime. The NGO had sought plea seeking for the enterprises to have a defined place to report rape videos and seek to block them.

India’s top court was concerned over illicit activities and cyber abuse that allegedly occured on the four search engines. The court asked the Silicon Valley giants why they were not preventing users from behaviors including circulating rape videos and posting other private content without the subjects' consent.

As per a report by PTI, a bench consisting of judges M B Lokur and U U Lalit issued the notices. The court was hearing a letter that was written to former Chief Justice of India, H L Dattu, by the Hyderabad-based NGO. The letter was accompanied by a pen drive, which contained two rape videos.

Aparna Bhatt, the NGO's advocate, said that videos depicting sexual offences were shared on social networking sites and these companies should take steps to curb such cybercrime.

Solicitor-General Maninder Singh, representing the Center, listed the steps taken by the union home ministry and CBI. The bench however said that the, if names of the victims were to be made public, it should be done only after conviction in the offence, and not immediately after the case was lodged.

Although these companies often prevent offensive content on their platforms, the issue in this instance is the failure of communication between the tech giants, service providers, and government officials.

This is not the maiden event the Indian court has had an issue with leading companies. In July 2016, the court concluded that Bing, Google and Yahoo put up advertisements for kits and clinics that helped people determine the sex of a foetus which is illegal in India.

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