WhatsApp encryption a hurdle for the Indian Govt. to detect objectionable content

WhatsApp’s message encryption system has been a blessing for users since it was introduced. The instant messenger has made user data highly secure with the feature introduced in April 2016. But it’s so secure, even the government won’t be able to access it. That is what I.T. Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in reply to a question.


Congress member, Raj Babbar asked regarding what the government is doing to stop unsuitable content from circulating on phones, especially WhatsApp. Prasad replied that there were laws to penalize such offenders.The minister said that Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, as amended in 2008, is in place to stop such objectionable content. But he also admitted that the hands of the government are tied due to WhatsApp encryption. Therefore, unless the offence is reported, nothing can be done. Since the messages are seen by only the sender and receiver, even WhatsApp doesn’t have access to the contents.

“WhatsApp provides a feature to report any objectionable content. However, they also admit that since they do not have the contents of the messages available to them, it limits their ability to take action. A user can take screenshot of the content and share it with appropriate law enforcement authorities.” he said
The news comes at a time when WhatsApp has reported 1 billion users per day on its platform. Indian is one of the biggest user base of the chat app.