The government wants to probe into the sources of inciting and provocative messages and posts which have led to violence across the nation, incidents of lynching and various other controversial issues.
In order to do so, it has proposed certain guidelines that would require Whatsapp to unveil information regarding the origins of messages.
As doing so will contradict the end-to-end encryption WhatsApp provides, the company will oppose the proposed regulations. It will also be violating free speech and privacy rights.
The intermediary guidelines which are reported to be made public after elections will include jail terms and penalties for heads and officials of various messaging platforms and social media companies for non-compliance.
Reasoning WhatsApp’s failure to act in accordance with the proposed guidelines, a person said, “WhatsApp feels the proposed guidelines are too broad and not in sync with privacy protection norms that are important to people everywhere,”
“What is expected from the rules is just not possible considering the end-to-end encryption the company provides — it would mean a new product.” He added.
The Facebook-owned app, which did not answer all the questions, believes that confidentiality is one of the key aspects of what they have to offer. They feel that gathering private information of users is contradictory to the whole idea of WhatsApp which was primarily designed to keep the conversations private.
Putting the same into perspective, another person said, “The company will continue to push back against government’s attempts that it feels weaken its end-to-end encryption feature,”
While defending its stance on safety and privacy, WhatsApp previously said, “People rely on WhatsApp for all kinds of sensitive conversations, including with their doctors, banks, and families. The police also use WhatsApp to discuss investigations and report crimes,”
“Attributing messages on WhatsApp would undermine end-to-end encryption and the private nature of WhatsApp, creating the potential for serious misuse. Our focus is on improving WhatsApp and working closer with others in society to help keep people safe.”
Reasserting the intention of the government, an official told ET, “They don’t or refuse to understand this — we don’t want you to look into the video or the audio or content, just tell us where (it began) or who started it,”
Understanding the concern of national security and integrity, WhatsApp said that it has made essential changes in the product and has addressed misinformation via public education campaigns. Besides that, the company also made necessary alterations like limiting the times a message can be forwarded and letting people exit groups in one tap.
However, the government did not seem to be satisfied with these alterations and has continued to request for traceability.