New Delhi: An international Whatsapp group was spreading child porn images in India, investigation revealed. Seven people have been booked in this regard, news agency PTI reported. Germany had a crucial role in this investigation as the Embassy of Germany alerted International Police Cooperation Cell of the CBI through diplomatic communication on January 31, this year.

The German Embassy informed about the arrest and conviction of Sascha Treppke in that country for involvement in sexual abuse of children and distribution of related material between November 24, 2015, and July 8, 2016. In May 2019, the CBI registered a preliminary inquiry. Sasche was sentenced to five years in prison.

During their investigation, German sleuths searched the residence of Treppke and found huge data in the form of pictures and videos pertaining to child sexual abuse, officials said. It also surfaced that Treppke was a member of 29 WhatsApp groups, having a total of 483 participants, on which the sexual abuse content was shared. Seven “active” Indian numbers too were found to be part of these WhatsApp groups, they said.

The phone numbers are from Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

India’s Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 has adequate provisions to deal with prevailing cybercrimes. Section 67B of the Act specifically provides stringent punishment for publishing, browsing or transmitting child pornography in electronic form. Section 79 of the IT Act and The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011 require that the intermediaries shall observe due diligence while discharging their duties and shall inform the users of computer resources to act accordingly. Further, sections 354A and 354D of Indian Penal Code provide punishment for cyberbullying and cyber stalking against women.

The Centre has taken a number of steps to be implemented by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to protect children from sexual abuse online. It blocks the websites containing extreme Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) based on Interpol’s “Worst-of-list” shared periodically by the CBI. The list is shared with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), who then directs major ISPs to block such websites.