WeChat , the mobile messaging platform is apparently within the crosshairs of Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB) as the body has proposed banning the same. The internet dependent smartphone based messaging platform is quite similar to immensely popular rival Whatsapp.
The intelligence tracking & monitoring authority feels that proliferation of such a service is a threat to National Security. In fact based on an internally circulated note, Deputy National Security Advisor Nehchal Sandhu has asked IB to discuss about the ban with the Home Ministry and the Department of Telecom (DoT). “Blocking access to such websites in accordance with the licensing conditions governing Internet service providers is one way of checking them,” the country’s internal intelligence agency pointed out at the second meeting of the Inter-Agency Operational Working Group on June 4.
Why is IB threatening a shut-down to WeChat?
Based on the aforementioned premonition, IB hasn’t clarified why it feels WeChat alone should face a ban. It operates on the exact same principles that Whatsapp, Viber & others follow. All these internet based messaging platforms make use of the unique mobile number as registration & as the users’ handle as well. This ensures that the content exchanged is always tied to an identifying entity that can be tracked down in the event of National Security.
The Government may want to ban WeChat in particular, mainly because it is Chinese in origin. In the past, India & other countries have seen an alarming increase in the hacking & unlawful entries by Chinese Nationals. In fact, there appear to be many theories that claim China deploys hackers to break into foreign national’s secure databases. When we first heard about WeChat entering the Indian market, we expressed doubts along the same lines. Here is a link to that piece.
While this ban may be a fairly new concept, messaging companies like BlackBerry’s BBM have been facing a lot of heat from Indian as well as Middle Eastern Authorities to share their database. While eventually BlackBerry did relent & opened up a server in India, can’t Indian Government insist the same to WeChat?
We would love to hear your thoughts on this particular development. Let us know in the comments.