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WhatsApp traceability vulnerable to falsification, claims IFF expert submission

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Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), a digital rights body, filed an expert submission against the ongoing PIL at the Madras High Court that wants to link social media accounts of users to their Aadhaar numbers. The IFF took the help of professor Manoj Prabhakaran against professor Veezhinathan Kamakoti from IIT Madras who suggested introducing traceability in WhatsApp.

The unchecked spread of fake news on WhatsApp has resulted in several mob lynchings in India.

Back in July, professor Kamakoti had suggested a couple of methods to identify the source of messages on WhatsApp and catch miscreants spreading misinformation. His proposal of bringing traceability to encrypted platforms was highlighted by professor Prabhakaran to be risky. The submission said this method could be used to falsify messages and it will ultimately affect user security and privacy.

As reported by the Economic Times, the submission comes during the hearing at the Madras High Court about a PIL that wants to link social media accounts of the users to their Aadhaar numbers. However, the court said that it wasn’t considering this approach anymore but rather improve cooperation between law enforcement agencies and social media companies.

The IFF went on to urge the court to refrain from exploring methods to change how encrypted platforms like WhatsApp are designed. The body suggested that it only should be pursued after a detailed process of forming a policy that involves experts and stakeholders.

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