Indian Government got the messaging apps into a pickle

A few weeks ago when WhatsApp laid outs its new policies regarding privacy and how it forced the users to either accept the new terms and conditions or they will delete their account from WhatsApp. These changes led to a remarkable downfall in WhatsApp users. People shifted to other apps and the userbase of Telegram and Signal increased considerably.

Everyone got talking about how Facebook wants to feed on the data and earn profits via selling the data to advertisements. Everyone felt like their data is much precious and thus shifted from WhatsApp. While I consider that this behavior of people was just a facade and people are caring way too much about their privacy. It's 2021, privacy is fake, as human beings we don’t care about privacy, we care about convenience.

Well, that’s not the point of this article anyway, let’s talk about the new scenario. Throwing some light on the recent events that happened across India, a lot of rages was shown on social media about the Farmer’s protest, and as protests begin fake news also spread like wildfire. It even got the cherry of Global icons tweeting about the protests.

Now the government focusses on getting the flow of messaging on social media tracked. On 26th Feb 2021, the Indian Government has mandated that they need to trace the originator of flagged messages that contribute to crimes of a severe nature. Right now WhatsApp does store information about how many times one message is forwarded. But they claim that finding the originator of the message is looking into the data and thus the end of the encryption/privacy.

The government passed statements like they just want to know who started the message and not what actually is the content. But the messaging apps would have to go against their own rules and regulations in order to fulfil the governments’ demands.

The goal is to get the fake news, misinformation managed and locate the source. The cost to get that goal is end-to-end encryption. There is a whole lot of the majority of the population who form their political opinions on any situation by reading the WhatsApp forwards. A very tiny percent of the population could actually act in a fully informed manner to such rumor spreads.

Apparently, the current state of the country is chaotic and the flow of social media is something the people get vastly influenced from. Henceforth, the government is taking such steps. This does mean that now the popular messaging services apps will now need to take a decision to solve this dilemma. Whatever decision the platforms take, the public of the country will react to it accordingly. All I hope is that the people do realize that why both the parties here (government and the messaging apps) have contradicted and how both of them are right yet they need to meet on some middle ground.

Overall, the messaging apps will need to figure this matter out with the government and try to bring some compromise. This matter was already a hot topic and now it just got more intense. Let’s hope we don’t go back to the era of posting letters for complete end-to-end encryption.

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