The government is not asking WhatsApp to remove End-to-End (E2E) encryption. But wants WhatsApp to add this digital fingerprint feature without breaking E2E encryption
Government wants WhatsApp to add this feature that some users may hate: All you must know
The spread of fake news and misinformation on WhatsApp in India has been one of the biggest concerns for the government. The huge popularity of the platform makes it easier for miscreants to abuse it. WhatsApp messages inciting hate among people have caused several incidents of lynching across India. The popularity of WhatsApp’s end-to-end (E2E) encryption makes it difficult for law enforcement agencies to track the source of the message and identify the real culprits. Now, the Indian government has asked WhatsApp to introduce a new feature to trace the source of messages without removing E2E encryption. Here is everything that all WhatsApp users must know about.
Government has asked WhatsApp to add a feature that will “digitally fingerprint” all WhatsApp messages
Government wants every WhatsApp message to have this ‘digital fingerprint’ that will help track who has sent a particular message first on WhatsApp
With this new feature, WhatsApp should be able to provide government with information like the original sender of a message, how many people have read it, forwarded it and more
The new feature will not allow government to read WhatsApp chats and or know the contents of a particular message
According to the government, no one else apart from the police or other law enforcement agencies will have access to the content
At present, the police relies on metadata information like profile picture, phone number, group member names, location, time of chats, duration of chats, IP addresses, contacts and more
Government claims that this WhatsApp metadata information is not enough to track culprits
Experts suggest that implementing this feature on WhatsApp will require Facebook to restructure the entire architecture of WhatsApp
Digitally fingerprinting every WhatsApp message is difficult
The ability of tracing WhatsApp messages undermines E2E encryption and increases the risk of government surveillance, claims WhatsApp.
India not the first country to demand ‘access’ to WhatsApp messages
Incidentally, India is not the first country to ask Facebook-owned messaging app to allow it to trace messages. Lawmakers in UK, Australia, Germany and some other parts of the world have made similar proposal to track WhatsApp messages.