A senior Mumbai police officer told FPJ that WhatsApp never cooperates the investigating agency. “They claim that they do not keep data with them. It is not possible that they cannot keep the data log because the log automatically gets collected if a data hits server. And after sometime, the data gets override with the new log,” the officer said.

Mumbai : Now-a-days leaked exam papers are conveniently circulated on WhatsApp groups. But the law enforcement agencies generally find it difficult to trace the source of messages circulated on the app since they don’t have the required ‘log file’ of the messages to initiate the probe.

Probably that’s why the Delhi crime branch is finding it difficult to crack the CBSE paper leaks as the investigators are yet to trace the origin of message circulated on WhatsApp. The cyber experts believe that criminals might have masked their IP address to go untraced.

“Normally when such messages go viral, a lot of technical skills need to find out the origination of message because the message would have gone millions of people. Police need to somehow get the ‘WhatsApp log file’ to trace the accused and in this case WhatsApp should cooperate the investigating agency,” said Puneet Bhasin, Cyber law expert.

A senior officer from Mumbai police told the Free Press Journal that WhatsApp never cooperates the investigating agency.

“They claim that they do not keep data with them. It is not possible that they cannot keep the data log because the log automatically gets collected if a data hits server. And after sometime, the data gets override with the new log,” the officer said.

“See, WhatsApp is having very strong privacy protection in it. So judicial intervention is necessary to seek data log from WhatsApp which may take months time to provide log data as it is governed by US laws. WhatsApp is required to maintain the data for a particular duration and by the time the investigation happens and they tend to share the data, they may not have the log,” added Bhasin.

The police officer said, “WhatsApp, whose server is in the USA, never shares details with police. And it takes a year if take legal route to get data from WhatsApp.”

“We need a strong international framework to be able to pressurise the foreign companies like WhatsApp and Facebook to immediately share the data with police to investigate the case. Else, it is impossible for police to initiate to investigate or detect the case without having data log in hand,” she added.

Another cyber expert Vaishali Bhagwat said if WhatsApp cooperates and gives the IP address and the phone number then it should not be a problem for law enforcement agency to trace the originality of message.

“After getting the phone number, the police can immediately contact the telecom provider to find the custodian of that mobile number,” said Bhagwat.

“Generally why we are not able to trace the WhatsApp messages because the data actually is in two-third party. One is WhatsApp and the second is telecom service provider. So in order to have original authentic data you have depend on service provider. Now the WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encryption which means no third party can interrupt and read the message during transit. But WhatsApp has the information about the messages,” she added.

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