In an order to make easier for people to register complaints against the circulation of a video showing sexual violence on WhatsApp, the Supreme Court asked popular messenger service provider to form a redress system on Thursday.
"WhatsApp should make further improvement in their reporting process which would enable easier reporting of contents in the app while maintaining the integrity of the contents and metadata available on phone at the time of reporting," a bench Justices Madan B. Lokur and U.U. Lalit said in an order.
The court was hearing the PIL filed in 2015 by the NGO Prajwala. Advocate Aparna Bhatt brought to the court's notice the circulation of videos relating to sexual violence on WhatsApp and other such platforms.
Earlier, the court has appointed a committee in which they suggest measures to prevent the misuse of social media by vested interests and the Bench has announced the order after considering recommendations.
The order was dictated during in-camera proceedings on October 23. However, it was uploaded on the official Supreme Court website on Thursday.
The apex court directed the government to create a centralized mechanism in the form of a helpline to collate information on content related to child pornography, rape or gang rape being circulated on social media or other Internet platforms.
The court directed that the centralized agency, to be set up under the CBI or the Union home ministry, must also maintain data of such videos to identify hashes of all known child pornography, rape and gang rape images.
A separate hotline has to be established for reporting the circulation of such content, with the option for the caller to remain anonymous, the court said.
The government has also been told to explore the possibility of installing technology similar to the Project Arachind crawler used in Canada, which can identify objectionable web pages and block it.
The court also suggested the expansion of keywords, which when typed, would flash messages warning the user against the search as it could lead to child pornography websites.
The bench directed the government to file a status report on the implementation of its directive in a sealed cover by December 11, when it would hear the matter further.