The menace of cyber pornography, especially involving children, has grown by alarming proportions in India over the years and is now a definite threat to society. Easy availability of pornography on the Internet through electronic devices like computers, laptops, mobile phones and smart phones has potential to destroy the fibre of the society negatively affecting the impressionable minds of the children and youth of the country. Individuals report depression, social isolation, career loss, decreased productivity or financial consequences as a result of their excessive pornographic viewing.
A number of woman and child abuses is on the rise and exposure to pornography is a major cause for a spurt in such crimes.
Since more than two-third population of India is below 35 years of age, the harmful and destructive exposure to cyber porn is posing a serious threat to the country’s social and economic fibre, which cannot be overlooked.
According to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), unchecked circulation of pornographic material and its distribution is a sure roadblock to the goal of building a bright future for India.
However, the judgement of the Supreme Court of India, which struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 as ultra virus the Constitution of India in relation to its violation of Citizen’s Fundamental Right to freedom of speech and expression, and its declining to pass an interim order to block porn sites in India in yet another recent judgement, observing that the Court cannot stop an adult from exercising his/her Fundamental Right to Personal Liberty to watch pornography within the privacy of his/her room, has fettered the far right NDA Government from taking measures to ban cyber pornography, resulting in the official agencies pleading helplessness in implementing the law of the land to locate and shut down porn sites as such websites are well masked with servers located outside the country, based on high-end technology, to catch up with. There are juridical issues as well.
Nevertheless, the Indian government is trying to persuade overseas headquartered websites to set up servers in India to protect its sovereign rights, to help remove undesirable, illegal and unwarranted contents as well as to prevent undesirable data of Indian websites from being illegally transferred outside the country’s territorial boundaries. In this connection, the Union Government is contemplating to institute a dedicated standing neutral Ombudsman to decide upon complaints of transmission of obscene and objectionable pornography.
To gauge the dangerous and rapid growth of pornography, the number of pornography related websites worldwide grew from 14 million in 1998 to 260 million in 2003, increasing by 1800 times over five years.
According to current estimates by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, more than 70 per cent of the traffic passing through the gateways of Internet is adult (pornographic), increasing faster like water flowing down the slopes.
Besides, various research and studies have proved cyber pornography has a deleterious impact on the society. It distorts social harmony leading people to social and family dissolution.
Mostly teenage children get addicted to cyber pornography, which affects their tender minds. These children start experimenting what they watch on the porn sites. Managing such experiment-oriented children is a very challenging task.
Children between 12-18 years get addicted to cyber pornography and get sexually active at such tender age, making it destructive that leads to perilous psycho-physical problems. This also leads to sexually transmitted diseases and rising pregnancies. Even sex education has not been helpful. In fact, solution has become problems.
According to sources, well-coordinated concerted efforts in the Union Government are on to tackle the menace of cyber pornography. The MHA, Department of Electronics & Information Technology, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Department of School Education & Literacy are working in close tandem to work out some solution by applying all possible legal and technological means to stem the rot. One hopes some solution to this multifarious problem comes out sooner.