CBI to ask social media apps if their responsibilities exist in online child abuse cases

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Highlights

  • Interpol reported between 2017 and 2020 that there were 2.4 million cases of child sexual abuse online
  • Federal Probe Agency uncovers transnational racketeering involving 5,000 offenders and foreign nationals from 100 countries
  • CBI to coordinate with International Child Sexual Exploitation Database to find origin of CSAM

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation has decided to seize the growing and disturbing trend of hosting child pornography material online on social media sites.

A day after conducting the largest searches and searches of online child sexual abuse material, the federal investigative agency’s top sources said it was decided that this serious issue would be addressed with social media applications of websites, hosting platforms under the legal provisions.

“In the past, we have also seen defendants using online platforms to deliver such content. We want to look at the role and responsibilities of social media applications, websites and hosting platforms. They cannot escalate their responsibilities, ”sources said.

The CBI has so far arrested seven defendants and more arrests are expected. Three defendants were brought before a special court in Delhi.

Electronic gadgets, including laptops and cell phones, were seized and sent for forensic examination. The CBI has filed 23 separate cases against 83 defendants and uncovered a transnational racketeering with many foreign nationals actively participating in it.

Interpol in a report said that between 2017 and 2020, around 2.4 million cases of online child sexual abuse were reported in India, 80% of which were girls under the age of 14.

Studies have shown that 160,000 search engine queries every day are for children’s prographs. During the investigation, the CBI discovered that foreign nationals from 100 countries were part of 50 groups that numbered 5,000 members.

A breakdown of the country’s wise defendants. Pakistan (36), Canada (35), United States (35), Bangladesh (31), Sri Lanka (30), Nigeria (28), Azerbaijan (27), Yemen (24) and Malaysia (22). The CBI said it would contact its counterparts in foreign countries to “identify the origin of the CSEM material.”

The initial investigation revealed that the defendants shared the CSEM for monetary consideration. “The defendants have linked their wallets and bank accounts to the hosting platforms and are paid on the basis of opinions. Thus, they are encouraged to share more content and hits,” sources said.

The CBI plans to coordinate with the International Child Sexual Exploitation Database to compare images of child sexual abuse to trace the origin of the crime.


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