Instances of “objectionable videos” being uploaded through mobile phones and shared through WhatsApp have been noticed, the government informed Parliament Friday.
The messaging app provides a feature to report such content and a user can take screenshot and share it with appropriate law enforcement authorities, minister for Electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
“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 with them, it limits their ability to take action,” he said.
The minister was replying to a question on whether the government is aware that objectionable videos are being uploaded through mobile phones and shared through WhatsApp, and the action being taken to stop such practice.
Stating that instances of objectionable videos being uploaded through mobile phones and shared through WhatsApp have been noticed, Prasad said that according to WhatsApp, the messages are end-to-end encrypted and they (the company) and any other party cannot read them.
“In other words, the messages are only seen by the sender and the receiver,” he said.
The minister further said the 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 added.