The government on Friday informed the parliament that instances of “objectionable videos” being uploaded through mobile phones and shared through messaging app, WhatsApp have been noticed by the former.
In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the messaging app provides a feature to report such content and a user can take a screenshot and share it with appropriate law enforcement authorities.
“WhatsApp provides a feature to report any objectionable content. However, they also admit that since they do not have the content of the messages available to them, it limits their ability to take action,” he said.
Prasad was replying to a question on whether the government is aware that objectionable videos are being uploaded and shared through mobile phones and shared through WhatsApp, and the action being taken to stop such practices.
Stating that instances of objectionable videos being uploaded through mobile phones and shared through WhatsApp have been noticed, he said that according to WhatsApp, the messages are end-to-end encrypted and they (the company) and they cannot be read by anyone.
“In other words, the messages are only seen by the sender and the receiver,” he added.
Prasad also said that Information Technology Act 2000, as amended in 2008, provides for punishment for publishing or transmitting objectionable content. In addition, several domain related Acts, including the Indian Penal Code, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act also restrict or prohibit publication of objectionable content in electronic form.
“The law enforcement agencies concerned take necessary action for violation noticed or reported as per the law,” Prasad concluded.