In an effort to track the source of information shared, the Indian government asked WhatsApp to set up a digital fingerprint to messages sent on the platform.
According to a report by ET, officials from the government have requested WhatsApp to allow traceability of messages shared within the platform without disabling the service’s end-to-end encryption.
The two senior government officials who spoke to the publication said “Fingerprinting WhatsApp messages will help find the originator of the message. That is all we want. We don’t want to read the messages but when we see a problematic message we should be able to go to WhatsApp to help us trace the sender”.
Essentially, what the government wants from WhatsApp is the original source of a message, the number of users who read that message and the number of users the message was sent to.
WhatsApp later denied that it would add anything to its platform to let the government trace messages shared between users. Reacting to the story, WhatsApp told IANS that it has “nothing new to add” to what was previously said on the matter.
The Facebook-owned company had earlier claimed that enabling message traceability would undermine the privacy of its users and that there is no way for it to carry out the government’s order without breaking WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption.
Earlier this year, WhatsApp introduced ‘Checkpoint Tipline’ to crack down on fake news and allow users to report any rumour or misinformation and check the authenticity of the information received.