WhatsApp maintains its stand against Indian government’s message fingerprinting request

“WhatsApp currently has over 200 million monthly active users in India, making it the biggest market worldwide”

Back in December, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology proposed changes to Section 79 if IT Act, 2000. This requires a company to enable “tracing out of originators of information on its platform as required by legally authorised government agencies“. Now, responding to Economic Times report which claimed that Indian Government had asked WhatsApp to include the ability to track every message — also referred to as fingerprinting messages  without compromising its end-to-end encryption, the Facebook-owned company told IANS News agency that it’s against the idea and has nothing to add as it “undermines the privacy of users.

Furthermore, WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption feature makes it impossible to track messages. A company spokesperson stated, “Attributing messages on WhatsApp would undermine the end-to-end encryption, and its private nature, leading to possibilities of being misused. Our focus is to improve WhatsApp and working closely with others in society to help keep people safe.” The company went on to add that the government suggested regulations for social media threatens the company’s existence. WhatsApp currently has over 200 million monthly active users in India, making it the biggest market for the Facebook-owned service worldwide.

Separately, WhatsApp is working on a feature that would ensure users don’t share images with the wrong contacts accidentally. In its current form, whenever you’re trying to share a picture with a contact on WhatsApp, an image of the person is shown on the top left corner along with the options to edit, crop, add stickers and more on the right spine. Thanks to the new change, as spotted by WABetaInfo, WhatsApp will now display the name of the recipient as well under the ‘write caption’ section, ensuring that users are aware they are sharing with the right contact.

The feature is available on WhatsApp Beta for Android with version number 2.19.173 or later installed. It is available for both images shared in individual chats and group chats. Since it is already in beta, it should roll out to everyone in the coming few weeks. However, a timeline for the availability of this feature on iOS availability hasn’t been revealed yet.