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IT Rules 2021: CEO Will Cathcart says WhatsApp hopes to find solution to traceability without breaking encryption

WhatsApp has explained its concerns around traceability to the Indian government, and will continue doing so in the hope of finding solutions "that don't touch encryption", said WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart. Speaking to Big Technology Podcast host Alex Kantrowitz, Cathcart termed the idea of breaking encryption "a fundamental threat". Cathcart was responding to questions about India's new Information Technology Rules 2021 notified last month, which prescribe due diligence on "significant social media intermediaries" such as WhatsApp. WhatsApp, with over 530 million registered users in India (according to figures released by the Indian government), is required to enable traceability on its platform. This traceability is considered to be antithetical to end-to-end encryption used by messaging platforms such as WhatsApp. For more details on this, read our summary of the IT Rules with respect to internet and social media intermediaries.  In the podcast, Cathcart was asked whether WhatsApp would break encryption, just exit India altogether. While explaining that the company is still trying to understand the Rules, he said that WhatsApp currently doesn't keep a record of messages sent over the platform, and there is no easy way to keep such records without knowing the content of the messages (because of E2E encryption). Additionally, he said there are "privacy implications" to recording such data. "So, we've been pretty opposed to it... We've been consistently opposed to it. There's actually been an ongoing conversation in India and Brazil and some other places," he said, adding that WhatsApp is also fighting 'We'll explain to the…

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