Why WhatsApp won’t trace origin of message

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New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) As experts demand Facebook-owned WhatsApp to disclose information about where a message in question has originated from, the company has reiterated that such proposed changes are not consistent with the strong privacy protections important to people.

WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption by default which means only the sender and the recipient can see the messages in circulation — not even WhatsApp.

In a recent media workshop, WhatsApp categorically said that tracing the origin of message is not possible given the end-to-end encryption that it provides and it would require the company to re-architect WhatsApp, leading us to a different product, one that would not be fundamentally private.

“Imagine if every message you sent was kept with a record of the fact that you sent it and with a record of your phone number. That would not be a place for private communications,” said a WhatsApp spokesperson.

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WhatsApp is removing over two million accounts per month for bulk or automated behaviour — over 75 per cent without a recent user report.

“These efforts are particularly important during elections where certain groups may attempt to send messages at scale,” said the company.

WhatsApp said its service is not a broadcast platform.

“We place limits on group sizes and how users send messages. Approximately 90 per cent of the messages sent on WhatsApp are from one person to another, and a majority of groups have fewer than 10 people. WhatsApp requires the message sender to know the phone number of the recipient,” said the company.

WhatsApp on Monday launched the second-leg of its “Share Joy, Not Rumours” education campaign to encourage the responsible use of its platform ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

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“We’re pleased that the recent changes we’ve made to limit viral content and educate users is having an impact. This work is never done — there is more that we can and will do,” WhatsApp India head Abhijit Bose said in a statement recently.

–IANS

na/prs

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