WhatsApp rejects Indian government's demand to trace its messages
Spurious news has become an alarming phenomenon and government is taking strict action to curb the spread of such news. According to reports, the government will announce guidelines in September that will increase the accountability of tech organisations such as Google, Facebook and WhatsApp. These platforms were warned not to be actively involved in creating and modifying content but rather just facilitate the dissemination of information.
WhatsApp, in particular, has come under heavy fire after several mob lynching incidents occurred, reportedly due to fake information that was forwarded on the messaging platform. Earlier this week, WhatsApp head, Chris Daniels met IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. According to media reports, the minister had asked WhatsApp to allow them to trace forwarded messages back to their source to nab culprits spreading fake news.
Although, Daniels was not available for comment a spokesperson for WhatsApp said, “Building traceability would undermine end-to-end encryption and the private nature of WhatsApp, creating the potential for serious misuse. WhatsApp will not weaken the privacy protections we provide. People rely on WhatsApp for all kinds of sensitive conversations, including with their doctors, banks and families. Our focus remains working closer with others in India to educate people about misinformation and help keep people safe.”
Earlier, WhatsApp had restricted the number of forwards that any single individual can make up to five.