The WhatsApp Inc. mobile-messaging application WhatsApp and the Facebook Inc. application are displayed along with other apps on an Apple Inc. iPhone. (Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg)

Government Seeks Location, Identity Of Those Sending Provocative WhatsApp Messages

The government today said that it was not seeking decryption of messages on WhatsApp but instead the location and identity of miscreants spreading misinformation that provokes violence and heinous offences.

After meeting WhatsApp Vice President Chris Daniels, India’s IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that he emphasized that traceability did not include decrypting of messages. "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," he said.

Prasad added that he was assured by the WhatsApp team that they will look into the matter and revert. The Facebook-owned company has been under pressure for months to put in place a mechanism to curb fake messages on its platform.

"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.

The minister also said that Whatsapp was an important instrument of message circulation, especially during elections.

Also read: Government Directs Google, WhatsApp To Check Rumours, Messages Inciting Unrest