Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp has reportedly been asked by the Indian government to allow them to trace messages by setting up a digital fingerprint to every message sent on the platform without removing end-to-end encryption. The Economic Times Tech has reported that government officials have requested WhatsApp to Fingerprint the messages so that they can be effortlessly traceable provided if they are problematic messages only.
The report indicates that WhatsApp has been consistently asked by the Indian government to make the platforms’ messages traceable ever since the reported lynchings happened back in 2018 in the country due to misinformation spread on the messaging platform about child kidnappings.
The report cites officials suggesting WhatsApp to provide a digital fingerprint for every message on the platform so that they can identify the origin of the message and how many times the respective message has been shared or forwarded on the platform. It is believed to be technically possible by WhatsApp if it tends to make that a possibility, the official stated according to the report.
Currently, WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted and the messages can only be read by the sender and the receiver and aren’t stored and cannot be read by Whatsapp itself. The official states that the metadata shared by WhatsApp currently during the aforementioned problematic messages isn’t sufficient to trace back the user and hence, they are appealing to add a digital fingerprint for every message sent/received on WhatsApp.
The officials believe some messages seldom are required to be traceable since the anonymity on the internet apparently has reached its limit further leading to uncontrollable situations similar to the lynchings that happened last year. The report also cites the Information Technology Act released in December 2018 that further suggests the requirement of all internet platforms to ensure traceability of the origin of all the content that is being shared across.
Facebook-owned messaging platform with more than 1.25 Billion users have responded to the request by the government, another Economic Times reports. It has revealed that WhatsApp has countered stating that there’s nothing new to add to what they have previously said on the same concern to the government. WhatsApp has earlier claimed that enabling tracing of messages will undermine the privacy of people; hence, they are encrypted according to the messaging platform.
Henceforth, enabling tracing on messages have the risk of being misused and it also breaches the privacy of the users. However, the company had claimed that it is operating jointly with others in the community in keeping the users safe on the platform. Stay tuned to PhoneRadar for more such interesting updates.