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Noticed objectionable content on WhatsApp, unable to take action: Govt

Since messages are encrypted end-to-end and no-third party can access them, it was helpless

IANS  |  New Delhi 

Representative image. Twin Design /
Representative image. Twin Design /

The on Friday virtually expressed its helplessness about checking objectionable content uploaded on online messaging site as they are encrypted end-to-end and no third party can access them.

The can take action once the content is reported as it has laws in place, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Congress member Raj Babbar in the Rajya Sabha in reply to a question.

The member had asked whether the has any plan to stop sharing of objectionable through mobiles and

In the answer, Prasad cited laws that deal with offences of publishing or transmitting objectionable contents. He admitted that instances of objectionable being uploaded through and shared through have been noticed but added that are end-to-end encrypted and cannot be seen by a third party.

"Instances of objectionable being uploaded through and shared through WhatsApp have been noticed. According to WhatsApp, the are end-to-end encrypted and they and any third party cannot read them. In other words, the are only seen by the sender and the receiver," he said in the reply.

"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 with 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 added.

The Minister further said that the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, as amended in 2008, provides for punishment for publishing or transmitting objectionable contents including and

"Concerned law enforcement agencies take necessary action for violation noticed or reported as per the law," he said.

There have been instances of anti-social elements using WhatsApp to fan communal passions in the recent past.

First Published: Fri, July 28 2017. 19:22 IST