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WhatsApp child sex abuse videos must be probed, demands child rights body

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Days after TikTok just escaped a permanent ban in India, WhatsApp was reported to be a playfield for circulation of child sexual abuse videos. Days later, the IT Ministry wrote to WhatsApp asking it to take steps to prevent such misuse.

Now, another report by Economic Times reports that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is demanding that a police probe be issued in the matter.

Per the report, the child rights body is also working on designing a preventive policy to curb such activities on all digital platforms.

WhatsApp says it is constantly stepping up its capabilities to keep the platform safe.

A few days ago, a two-week investigation conducted by Cyber Peace Foundation found that chat groups on WhatsApp continue to be created and used to disseminate and share Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) in India.

The report noted that while platforms are using sophisticated technology to weed out such content, “groups are still being created regularly and active solicitation is also happening”.

(Also Read: TikTok Ban: The case highlighted the inability of Indian laws to prevent the exploitation of children)

“Interesting to note that most of these groups have group icons that are obscene and sexual and don’t just show adults but children in sexually explicit activity directly. This presents potential for technical tools to identify and remove such groups,” the report by Cyber Peace Foundation claimed.

The report by Cyber Peace Foundation — which describes itself as a civil society organisation and think-tank of cyber security and policy experts — also alleged that there are “several groups that also solicit physical contact with both children and adults at a price with things like coverage areas, timing etc”.

(Also Read: WhatsApp child sex abuse report: Self-regulation of social media isn’t working; need government norms)

WhatsApp — which has over 200 million users in India — had drawn flak over misinformation being spread through messages on its platform. Such fake messages and rumours had led to mob violence incidents across the country, prompting the government to seek message traceability. WhatsApp has, however, maintained that bringing such a feature would undermine the privacy of users on its platform.

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