New govt regulations could see WhatsApp cease to exist in India


New Delhi, Feb 7: WhatsApp's popularity in India is undoubtedly high and the country is one of the biggest markets of the social media platform with over 200 million monthly subscribers.

However, this might change. According to a report in IANS, some of proposed government regulations for social media companies functional in India are posing a threat to WhatsApp's existence, as said by a top executive of the company.

Also Read | Political parties misusing WhatsApp ahead of 2019 elections: Top executive

"Of the proposed regulations, the one which concerns us the most is the emphasis on traceability of messages," IANS quoted Carl Woog, WhatsApp's Head of Communications, as saying on the sidelines of a media workshop.

WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, provides end-to-end encryption by default which means nobody other than the sender and recipient can see it, not even WhatsApp.

According to Woog, who served as the deputy assistant to the US secretary of defence for communications, the proposed changes are not consistent with strong privacy protections that people across the world are looking for.

He also said that the regulations will require WhatsApp to re-architect its product and that will see it ceasing to exist in its current form.

The end-to-end encryption feature of WhatsApp makes it challenging for the law-enforcers to find out the culprit behind campaigns that spread misinformation.

Also Read | Beware users, this 'WhatsApp Gold update' message is a hoax as it's a malware!

The proposed regulations require the social media platforms to follow a process to prevent their misuse for spreading misinformation that could lead to violence.

In another report by Reuters, Woog said political parties in India were found to be misusing the WhatsApp service ahead of elections and cautioned them such usage could result in ban on the very service.

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