'No proof WhatsApp messages were tracked in IPL investigation'

'The information is unverified and unconfirmed. Until we are presented with evidence and data, we will treat the information as false', said Neeraj Arora, the business head of WhatsApp.

Arlene May 17, 2013 14:53:07 IST
'No proof WhatsApp messages were tracked in IPL investigation'

New Delhi: Dismissing media report that mobile messaging applications WhatsApp and Blackberry Messenger were the new tools for match fixing, WhatsApp said that there is no data to prove the reports.

"This is just spreading of rumours," Neeraj Arora, business head of What'sApp told Firstpost.

Following the arrest of three players of Rajasthan Royals — S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan — in Mumbai late Wednesday night on charges of spot fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Times Now yesterday reported that the Delhi Police while tracking messaging services like Blackberry and WhatsApp discovered the involvement of Sreesanth and the two others’ in spot fixing.

No proof WhatsApp messages were tracked in IPL investigation

WhatsApp has denied that its messages were tracked.

As mentioned in Firstpost yesterday, the channel said that the Delhi police had around 70 phones under surveillance during their probe into spot fixing in the IPL and were tracking messaging software like Whatsapp and Blackberry Messenger.

Arora has said that the reports had no basis. "The information is unverified and unconfirmed. Until we are presented with evidence and data, we will treat the information as false," he said. Arora added that WhatsApp chats were not saved on their servers once delivered, "They are only saved on users' devices."

Defending the application and replying to a query about whether there were any requests by Indian authorities for accessing chats, Arora also told Firstpost that the Indian government or any Indian law enforcing agencies had not approached the company for any information regarding chat conversations.

NDTV's reporter Sunetra Choudhury in a tweet last night seemed to vindicate the company's stand. "Just interviewed delhi police chief neeraj kumar who says they dont know how to tap bbm messages yet so- type away freely :)" Choudhury tweeted:

 

Last year SBA Research, an industrial research center for IT-Security based in Vienna conducted a study evaluating the security of smartphone messaging apps. The report cited some of WhatsApp's vulnerabilities as impersonation attacks -- where a person not the actual user can register themselves with the original users phone number use it in their name, spam attacks -- where the attacker can send arbitrary text messages to anyone around the world for free and phone number enumeration -- which allows an attacker to enumerate the phone numbers of other WhatsApp users from the contacts of the attacked.

Arora said that WhatsApp's position on security of the app was that enough data sent through WhatsApp is encrypted.

"WhatsApp messages are encrypted. We do not store your chat history on our servers. Chat messages are considered private and are only stored until they are delivered," is how the messaging service answered a query on security.

The company, however, put some onus of the security of the users information in the users hands itself.

"Even though data sent through our app is encrypted, remember that if your phone or your friend's phone is being used by someone else, it may be possible for them to read your WhatsApp messages. Please be aware of who has physical access to your phone," the company said.

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