The Indian government has reportedly asked popular instant messaging platform WhatsApp to introduce an alpha-numeric hash assigning system for every message. As everyone might be aware by now, WhatsApp is the epicentre of spam messages, and the government is worried about the misleading information spread through WhatsApp. In the past, top-level government executives and WhatsApp officials engaged in multiple talks of how to trace the origin of spam messages. But the Facebook-owned company did not budge because of end-to-end encryption. Every WhatsApp message is encrypted and it urged that tracing the origin of a message will require the breaking of end-to-end encryption technology. This is why the Indian government has come up with an alternate solution, according to ET Tech.
Alpha-Numeric Hash Assigning System on WhatsApp: What Exactly Is It?
Going by the ET Tech report, the Indian government is proposing a new system through which the platform can trace the origin of messages without breaking end-to-end encryption technology. The new system is an 'alpha-numeric hash.' Basically, the government is asking WhatsApp to generate a unique alpha-numeric hash key for every message sent on the platform. If WhatsApp implements the proposed system, every message sent on the platform will generate a unique hash key containing letters from A to Z and numbers from 0 to 9. For example, if you send a message on WhatsApp, it will have an alpha-numeric hash key of '1a2b3c.'
Since these hash keys will be unique for every message, it will allow the company to trace the origin. With this system, WhatsApp will not be required to break the encryption technology.
Aforesaid, WhatsApp declined the government's request of tracing the origin of a message, saying it will be against the privacy policies. However, the government urged that it is part of “law and order” and also asked WhatsApp to comply with the requirement.
Having said that, WhatsApp is yet to inform the government about its stance on generating alpha-numeric hash keys for messages.