The Facebook-owned messaging service had released the beta version of their UPI-based payment service for nearly 1 million users but haven’t been allowed to carry out a full-scale launch. Government officials have insisted that the company comply with their requests to combat fake news in order to launch the payments service. They said WhatsApp is being “singled out” over regulatory compliance which is similar to that of Google’s. However, the IT ministry has claimed that Whatsapp is not following the two-factor authentication like Google.
The IT ministry in letters to the Reserve Bank of India and National Payments Corporation of India questioned the company’s data sharing and storage policies.
The government had recently demanded that WhatsApp messages be made traceable after multiple lynchings in the country due to rumors spread on Whatsapp. “It does not take rocket science to locate a message being circulated in hundreds and thousands... You must have a mechanism to find a solution.” Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Information Technology, had said. WhatsApp has refused to comply with the demand citing that traceability will “undermine end-to-end encryption and the private nature of WhatsApp, creating the potential for serious misuse”.
People privy to the developments told the paper that the government must have a public debate before asking a firm to scale up surveillance.
News Source: Money Control