Industry body COAI has approached the Telecom Department (DoT) flagging operational issues in implementing a directive that mandates use of an IWF list for blocking online child sexual abuse content, and said such sites should be barred as per the 'Interpol list' provided by the department.
The COAI in a recent letter to the DoT has said that instructions given by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY) in April 2017 mandating use of IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) list should be withdrawn as it creates an "unfettered monopoly in favour of a single private entity".
"We have been highlighting to both DoT as well as MEITY the issues associated with implementation of a particular list from IWF (a private entity) as it creates a monopolistic situation in favour of a single private entity. We also highlighted that our members are already facing this challenge as the fees for obtaining the list are being quoted at exorbitant levels by IWF," the COAI said.
The solution to the issue is that DoT should procure the list and provide it to all the ISPs, said COAI whose member operators also provide mobile internet services and are required to block such sites according to the DoT's directions.
But COAI has said that another operational issue in implementing the directive to use the said IWF list is that collective subscriptions cannot be negotiated and that list can be availed only by those entities who take membership and pay hefty annual fee, thus leaving COAI's member operators "at the complete mercy of IWF".
"...While our member operators would implement solution to block any URL list provided by the DoT, they are not in a position to procure the list from IWF...," COAI said adding that doing so would increase their cost and burden manifold.
As such, operators are already blocking URLs as per INTERPOL list provided by Department of Telecom or DoT and additional subscription to IWF list would lead to duplication given that the same sites are being blocked through the INTERPOL list, COAI said.
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