A ‘BlueWhale Challenge’ for DD

Press Trust of India New Delhi | Updated on January 08, 2018 Published on October 27, 2017

The Supreme Court directs Doordarshan to produce a 10-minute show on the perils of virtual dare games like Blue Whale Challenge within a week and to show it by the public broadcaster and private channels on prime time.

“How you (Centre) will do it, we are not concerned. But you must do it,” said the bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, adding that such online games posed danger to life and they must be “contained”.

The bench said “lonely” and “depressed” children are usually attracted towards such dangerous games, and asked the Centre to take steps to ensure the absence of such deaths.

On the effective side

Terming visual medium as being most “effective”, the top court said “Doordarshan shall prepare a programme in consultation with the Ministries of Women and Child Development and the Human Resource Development within one week to educate children about the evils of Bluewhale game so that they are not involved in it.”

It said the competent authorities should also ensure that the programme is shown on private TV channels as well.

Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha, appearing for the Centre, said around 28 cases relating to such games have been reported so far, and the agencies are probing them. He sought three weeks time to file a reply.

The law officer said the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has set up a committee to deal with the issue, and information is being sought from various service providers to curb such incidents.

The bench has granted three weeks to the Centre to file a detailed affidavit with the steps taken by the concerned ministries including the Ministry of Home Affairs and fixed the PIL for further hearing on November 20.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Sneha Kalita, seeking framing of guidelines to regulate and monitor these virtual digital online games.

The court had earlier asked the government to set up a panel of experts to block these games,

It also sought the response on the plea seeking to firewall such games existing in the cyber world like ‘Choking Game’, ‘Salt and Ice Challenge’, ’Fire Challenge’, ‘Cutting challenge’, ‘Eyeball challenge’ and ‘Human Embroidery Ggame’.

The warning

Firewall is a system designed to prevent unauthorised access to or from a private network by controlling incoming and outgoing network traffic.

The PIL has sought directions to intermediaries, particularly network service providers (NSPs), internet service providers (ISP), web hosting service providers and cyber cafes to observe and take steps to inform all users “not to host, display, upload and share any virtual digital games, which is grossly harmful and life- threatening and morally degrading.”

Further Steps

As part of further directions, the PIL has also sought the government to improve “the filtering services at Indian Shores like having firewalls in each Cable landing Station or having DNS Blocking wall with brain scanner (at underground submarine optical fibre cable connecting the operators abroad) to be installed at Indian shores.

Cable landing stations are locations where a submarine telecommunications cables and power cables make a landfall. A submarine communications cable is a cable laid on the sea bed between land-based stations to carry telecommunication signals across stretches of ocean.

Published on October 27, 2017
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