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Teenage deaths, suicides not linked to Blue Whale game: Govt tells SC

The govt also said it was not possible to block such addictive games without formal applications mentioning URLs or websites.

india Updated: Nov 20, 2017 21:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Blue Whale Challenge,Supreme Court,Schoolchildren
Participants are asked to carve a whale on their arm. (File photo / Representational)

Technical investigation has not established any link between dangerous online games such as Blue Whale and scores of recent teenage deaths in India, the government told the Supreme Court on Monday.

The government also said it was not possible to block such addictive games without formal applications mentioning URLs or websites.

“There is a very little scope of using technical solutions to identify or block the Blue Whale game,” according to the Centre’s affidavit to the top court.

The government appointed a high-powered probe panel after a spate of teenage deaths were reported in India, apparently driven by the Blue Whale game that provokes players to do self-destructive tasks for 50 days before taking the final step of death by suicide.

The deaths triggered a call for banning such online games.

Attorney general KK Venugopal said the committee under the director general of the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) investigated the deaths or attempted suicides allegedly linked to Blue Whale. Its interim report suggests the deaths are not linked with the game.

The investigation includes technical analysis of personal computers, laptops and mobile devices seized from the so-called victims.

“The committee is yet to give a final report ... then only we will be able to take a concrete decision,” Venugopal told a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

The court is hearing a plea seeking a direction to the government to ban suicidal games.

The bench directed state governments to make schoolchildren aware of the dangers from such games.

“The beauty of life is not to meet with the beauty of death, but to keep death away. They (children) must be made aware of the beauty of life,” the court said.

According to the Centre, such games are shared among secretive groups on social media networks.

Its creators seek out victims who are depressed and send them an invitation. The game is communicated through encrypted and secretive communication links.

The Blue Whale game is created by a former convict in Russia.

The Union information and technology ministry directed web platforms in August to remove links to such online games.

The CERT suggested Facebook to take proactive steps to identify its users who seek out Blue Whale apps.

First Published: Nov 20, 2017 15:02 IST