Be ready to trace the origin of messages, WhatsApp told

WhatsApp: govt 'seeking only locations, identity of those sending provocative messages and not decryption'

October 31, 2018 06:14 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:55 pm IST - New Delhi

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been under pressure to put in place a mechanism to clamp down on fake messages on its platform. File

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been under pressure to put in place a mechanism to clamp down on fake messages on its platform. File

The government on Wednesday said it does not want WhatsApp to “decrypt and read” messages sent on its platform but “insists” that the Facebook-owned firm be able to trace the origin of messages that lead to serious crimes.

This was conveyed to WhatsApp vice president Chris Daniels at a meeting with Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The government and WhatsApp firm have been at loggerheads over the issue of tracing the origin of fake messages. WhatsApp had earlier said it would not comply with the government’s demand as the move would undermine the privacy of WhatsApp users.

Potential for misuse

“Building traceability would undermine end-to-end encryption and the private nature of WhatsApp, creating potential for serious misuse,” the U.S.-headquartered firm had said in August.

The Minister, on Wednesday, said, “When we talk of traceability, we don’t talk of decrypting the messages but we insist on location and identification of the original sender of WhatsApp messages when such messages lead to provocation of violence, heinous offences and other serious crimes.”

Whatsapp said it would look into the issue and get back. Mr. Prasad said, “We discussed about the progress made on the issues which were discussed in the last meeting.”

In August, the government had asked WhatsApp to find a solution to trace the origin of fake messages.

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