05:15 GMT +327 March 2019
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    WhatsApp Rejects India's Request to Track Origin of Malicious Information

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    Facebook-owned private messaging application WhatsApp has been at the center of a raging debate in India concerning a recent spate of violence in which dozens of innocent persons were killed by angry mobs that were misled by false information circulated on the platform.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — WhatsApp has rejected India's demand for a solution to track the origin of messages on its platform, citing privacy concerns. Even as the government of India repeatedly flagged concerns over the unchecked circulation of information leading to rumors and hate-mongering, triggering concerns of social unrest, the Facebook-owned smartphone messaging application has argued that building traceability would undermine the company's privacy protection policy. 

    READ MORE: WhatsApp Tests 'Forwarding Limit' Feature to Curb Fake News in India

    "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," WhatsApp spokesperson told the Press Trust of India (PTI).

    The development comes a week after WhatsApp head Chris Daniels met India's Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in New Delhi. The meeting came amid a raging debate over the circulation of fake news and unsolicited messages on WhatsApp that had led to a spate of mob lynchings in India, triggering concerns of social unrest.

    Following the meeting, Prasad had told reporters that the government had asked WhatsApp to set up a local corporate entity and find a technological solution to trace the origin of fake messages circulated through its platform as well as appoint a grievance officer for combating and reporting instances of violation.

    READ MORE: WhatsApp Cries for Help in Tackling Fake News, Print Ads Come to Rescue

    While acknowledging the role played by the messaging application in India's digital story, the minister was categorical in announcing that WhatsApp could face abetment charges if it did not take action to tackle the issue of fake news being circulated on its platform.






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