WhatsApp troubles see no end as Govt demands message traceability

New Delhi: The troubles for WhatsApp seem far from coming to an end in India, as the Indian government has reportedly asked the Facebook-owned messaging application to digitally fingerprint messages sent on its platform without breaking the encryption. The move is said to ensure traceability of all content shared through the WhatsApp platform, without reading the message.

“We have nothing new to add to what we have previously said on this,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said reacting to a report by the Economic Times which states that the Indian government has once again raised the matter with the social messaging app. It added that the demand to trace the origin of messages on its platform as it “undermined the privacy of people.”

The ET report states that the Indian government has asked WhatsApp to add a digital fingerprint to every message sent on its platform without compromising on its E2E encryption, two government officials told the publication. This would allow the Indian government to trace the origins to the message that contain fake news, which in turn has led to tens of cases of mob lynchings in the past among others.

“Fingerprinting WhatsApp messages will help find the originator of the message. That is all we want,” the government official told ET.

The end-to-end encryption feature in WhatsApp makes it difficult for law enforcement authorities to find out the culprit behind a misinformation campaign.

The mobile messaging platform has already called the proposed changes “overbroad”, saying it undermined the privacy of the people.

This to-and-from between the Indian government and Facebook-owned application has also led to delay of the launch of WhatsApp on UPI platform in the country.

It is important to note here that while the government might be looking at WhatsApp as a vulnerable platform for information sharing, it cannot be ignored that it is also the most trusted and popular messaging medium for Indians.

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