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Friday, November 1, 2019

Why is the government eyeing your WhatsApp message?

Why is the government eyeing your Whats App message?


The Indian government has planned to keep an eye on the messages coming on social media. Ever since this issue has come to the fore, social media users and activists working in the field of privacy are watching it with vigorous eyes.

Not only this, companies running social media are also seeing something wrong in this. Technology writer Prashanto K. Roy is giving his views on this step of the government.

The Ministry of Information Technology of India is going to issue some new rules from January next year. These new rules will help companies that provide a platform for sending messages to people.

These companies also include many social media apps, websites and many e-commerce companies.

Actually, the purpose of this decision has been told to stop fake news, due to which 40 many rumors spread between 2017 and 2018 and due to this, more than 40 people lost their lives.
Violence from fake news
There are wrong facts and information behind these fake news, people get angry after seeing these messages and on many occasions the crowd breaks up on one person.

All these messages are forwarded to thousands and millions of mobiles in a few hours and it is almost impossible to stop them.

In one case of the year 2018, only a government employee had become a victim of mob violence, the government had given him the task of going to villages and declaring not to believe the rumors spreading on social media.

Within the last two years, more than 50 cases of mob violence have been reported due to misinformation from social media.

These social media apps include Facebook, YouTube, Sharechat and other apps running in local languages.
Watch whatsapp

But the app that spread the most fake news is WhatsApp. WhatsApp has more than 400 million users in India.

Last year, when several cases of mob violence came up due to rumors, the government appealed to WhatsApp to make arrangements to stop spreading these misinformation.

After this, WhatsApp also took many steps. Which includes setting the limit for forwarding a message and saying 'forward' above the forward message.

However, the government believes that these steps taken by WhatsApp are inadequate and they have to keep an eye on WhatsApp messages themselves, just like China does in its country.

With this, the government wants WhatsApp to find the original sender of any message or video and give this information to the government.

The Attorney General of India said in the Supreme Court in the same case, "If these social media companies cannot decrypt their data with the investigating agencies, especially if those cases are involved in treason, pornography or other crimes then these companies Should not do business in India.

A government official told me off the record, "Look, these social media companies have gone to court to stop us."

He also told that the level of online surveillance in China is very high. He was quite right to say that because many times the words which are banned on the app WeChat, which are popular in China, disappear automatically.

Whatsapp response

WhatsApp says that the steps he has taken have proved effective.

According to a WhatsApp spokeswoman, since they started writing forward messages forwards, and set their limits, the forward message has decreased by 25 percent.

He also told that within a month his company has banned about 20 lakh accounts that used to send messages in bulk, along with the company is also running several programs to mobilize people.

Meanwhile, the real concern of the workers working in the area of ​​privacy is that the government wants to trace a message to the original vendor.

The government says that it wants to trace those sending the message, while the workers are afraid that through this the government will also target those who criticize them.

These concerns of the workers are also not needless; recently, whenever someone has criticized the government's decisions, action has also been taken against them.

Be it the criticism of the government's move in Kashmir or the matter of registering a case of treason against those who wrote letters to the Prime Minister.
Karl Woog, global head of the liaison department at WhatsApp, said in Delhi in February this year, "Whatever we want, we cannot give everything." That means we cannot give full encryption.

For this, the entire WhatsApp structure will have to be changed. By doing this, WhatsApp will no longer be the product it is now. Its foundation rests on privacy. Just think that if every message sent on your behalf is entered with your number, then where will the privacy remain there.
Since 2011, the laws of India have been very simple for online platforms. No phone company is held responsible for what is happening between two people on the phone.

In the same way, no e-mail questions the company on sharing any kind of information through e-mail.

As long as the administration does not ask any company to share their data, then they are avoiding any kind of legal hurdles.

But the new rules that the government is going to bring now are going to create a difficult situation for these companies.

Not only this, the government has also written in its proposal that on any platform where there will be more than 50 lakh users in India, they will have to open their office in India.

This step is because if there is any problem then who will take responsibility for it locally.
Apart from social media, these laws proposed by the Government of India will also have an impact on other platforms.

For example, if these rules and regulations are implemented, Wikipedia may discontinue its access to Indians.

It is not yet clear that if some messaging platforms like Signal and Telegram do not follow these rules then what will be the effect on them.

It is believed that then Internet service providers will be asked not to give access to these messaging platforms.

While the activists working in the field of privacy are watching this step of the government with vigorously, the professionals associated with public policies believe that instead of closing these platforms, the government is looking for new avenues for them.

India policy head of a global technology company said that all leaders, officers and police officers use WhatsApp, no one would want to stop it. The government only wants this so much that WhatsApp should take strict steps towards this serious problem.

However, like the rest of the people, they could not tell what kind of strict steps they were talking about.

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