Appoint officers to stop ‘Blue Whale’ menace, directs Madras HC

blue whale

MADURAI, Sept 13: As the blue whale game continues to engulf its victim in its dangerous trap despite directions of removing all links related to the game from social sites, the Madurai bench of the Madras high court on Tuesday directed the central and state governments to bring `over the top’ (OTT) service providers into the legal framework of India to check the `Blue Whale’ menace.

Pulling up the concerned authorities, the bench asserted that appropriate steps should be taken immediately to make all OTT services and service providers comply with Indian laws and to provide the required information to law enforcing agencies, it also asked the Tamil Nadu government to appoint a nodal officer to ensure implementation of the order.

Methods must be devised to ensure that those OTTs which could not be brought within such framework are not accessible in India. OTT is a term used for the delivery of film and TV content via internet without requiring users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite service, it said.

Justices K K Sasidharan and G R Swaminathan took up the issue suo motu as a PIL and passed the orders on Tuesday saying that, “Protecting the society is the joint responsibility of the ser vice providers, content providers, lawmakers, society , family and the community at large and of course the users of internet themselves. The court cannot remain, mute spectators, when the society is faced with such a social menace. Hence, the case is disposed of with directions to the central and state governments.”

“Technology companies and websites follow the laws of their respective jurisdiction and as such, they do not provide data and information, in spite of making a request for it by the law enforcing agencies in India on account of violation of India laws,” the bench said. “The government must consider amending relevant rules and regulations applicable to Indian subsidiaries and websites making it compulsorily amenable to Indian laws.” The Centre should direct internet service providers to take due diligence to remove all the links and hashtags presently being circulated on social media platforms and also in dark net with URL links related to the Blue Whale game and to furnish information regarding download access to suspicious links.

The state shall designate forthwith vigilance and anti-corruption joint director Dr S Murugan as the nodal officer in terms of Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009, who must ensure implementation of the order blocking the website and removing links.

It also warned all the students as well as parents to remain aware of the lurking dangers of Blue Whale challenge game and keep their children away from any link of this game on the social sites. It also asked the school and higher education secretaries to take active steps to ensure educational institutions sensitise.

Wefornews Bureau

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