WhatsApp and More Messaging Apps Might Lose End-to-End Encryption Soon

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After a big drama against the new privacy policy introduced by WhatsApp, it looks like Indian users will lose more of their privacy. The Indian government has recently mandated social media apps to find out the ‘originator’ of wrongful messages that lead to crimes such as rape and danger to the country’s security and sovereignty. For doing so, social media applications will have to drop the ‘end-to-end encryption’ of messages from their platforms. According to a report from ET Telecom, the critics believe that this move from the government is seriously undermining its citizens' freedom and privacy.

Government Not Looking for Content, But Only 'Originator' of Messages

The Electronics and Information Technology Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said that the government isn’t interested in the 'content or chats’ of the users; it is merely looking for the ‘originator’ of wrongful messages.

Particularly, messages subject to potential crimes for which the punishment is more than five years is what the government is interested in. Under the rules, if the message originated from outside the country, whomsoever shares it first in India with the others will be termed ‘originator’ and will be subject to punishment.

For finding the originator of the messages, social media platforms will have to lose their ‘end-to-end encryption’ technology for Indian users.

The Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) executive director Apar Gupta said that enabling this rule would greatly impact the privacy of Indian users. He said that this rule would increase the scope of cybersecurity threats/crimes and undermine users' privacy.

The messaging applications will have to tweak their operating models and tech infrastructure to implement such a rule. It is worth noting that WhatsApp had earlier refused to serve the government with the information about the origination of messages by compromising on its end-to-end encryption technology.

It will be interesting to see how Indian users react to this information and what course social media applications will take.

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Tanay is someone with whom you can chill and talk about technology and life. A fitness enthusiast and cricketer, he loves to read and write.

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