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Use Interpol list, not IWF, to block child sexual abuse content: COAI to Govt

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.


PTI India
Updated: 16-07-2018 18:06 IST

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Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY) in April 2017 mandating use of IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) list should be withdrawn as it creates an "unfettered monopoly in favour of a single private entity".

The association said its members are blocking such links based on the Interpol list, and complying with another list will only add to costs and lead to duplication of efforts.

The IWF list can be availed only by those entities who take membership and pay hefty annual fee even as collective subscriptions cannot be negotiated, it outlined.

"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.

IWF offers a dynamic list of individual web pages with child sexual abuse content to its members, who can be guided by the list to filter and block access to such content.

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.

The association has, therefore, said that blocking of the sites should continue as per INTERPOL list provided by DoT and that MEITY instruction on using of IWF list should be withdrawn.

"In the event that IWF/any other blocking list is to be adopted, then the same should be procured by DoT and provided to ISPs in line with clause...of the ISP licence," COAI said.

The mobile operators' association has said that blocking on such online material should be implemented uniformly across all telecom service providers and internet service providers in India.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

COUNTRY : India

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