The Indian government has been consistently demanding for traceability of WhatsApp messages, especially after the spread of misinformation that led to lynchings of hundreds of people in the country last year.
WhatsApp, however, agreeing to all other demands of the Indian government, refuses to track messages on the platform saying it would violate the end to end encryption offered on its platform. But the government is once again insisting on traceability.
According to a >report by The Economic Times, WhatsApp has been asked to "digitally fingerprint every message sent on its platform without breaking its encryption". This information has been attributed by the publication to two senior government officials.
"Fingerprinting WhatsApp messages will help find the originator of the message. That is all we want," the official reportedly said. "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," the official said. "They have to find a way, it is technically possible."
Reportedly, the government demands that WhatsApp identifies the original source of a message, how many users on the platform read that message and to how many people was the message sent to. And all of this must be done without breaking the encryption of the platform.
Similar demands were raised by the government earlier this year as well when WhatsApp was found to be used as a platform for child abuse and pornography.
Last year, responding to the traceability demands, a WhatsApp spokesperson had said, "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".