Govt wants identity of fake message sources on WhatsApp

The government insisted that WhatsApp set up a mechanism to trace the origin of misinformation. Reuters file photo

The government on Wednesday said it is not seeking decryption of messages on WhatsApp but only the identity of those spreading the fake news that provokes violence and heinous offences.

After meeting with WhatsApp Vice President Chris Daniels, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said: "I met Chris Daniels, along with his team, and discussed various issues of the past. They have assured us that they have appointed a grievance officer for India. I have suggested that we will appreciate if grievance officer is also located in India," Prasad said.

In the meeting, the government insisted the company set up a mechanism to trace the origin of misinformation. The government would not seek the details of decryption of messages from the company, the minister said. 

"We insist rather on location and identification of the sender of WhatsApp messages when such messages lead to provocation of violence, heinous offences and other serious crimes," the Minister said. 

The minister said during the meeting, he also emphasised that WhatsApp is an important instrument of message circulation, especially during elections.

"...it is appropriate and desirable that the institutional integrity of this platform is maintained so that abusers cannot abuse it. They (WhatsApp) have also assured that they will work with my department in preventing circulation of spam farms," he said.

Prasad added that he has been assured by the WhatsApp team that they will look into the matter and revert.

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Govt wants identity of fake message sources on WhatsApp

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