WhatsApp on Wednesday said it has partnered with Indian School of Public Policy to help future policy makers understand importance of privacy-centric design in product development, even as the app faces pressure from India to bring in traceability of fake message originators.

The partnership was announced by WhatsApp Global Head Will Cathcart during a discussion with Indian startups and entrepreneurs in Mumbai.

During the session, Cathcart discussed how designing products with privacy as a key principle is critical for building successful consumer and business products.

"...we're committed to helping people in India have private conversations with others that matter to them. We believe our partnership with ISPP will help future policy makers understand that designing products with privacy as a core tenet helps deliver the fundamental right to privacy people should have in today's digital world," Cathcart said.

Last year, fake news circulated on WhatsApp incited mob fury that led to the lynching of over a dozen people across India. The Indian government has asked WhatsApp - which has over 200 million users in India - to devise ways to identify message originators to trace the origin of fake messages circulated on its platform.

The Facebook-owned company, on its part, has maintained that doing so will undermine end-to-end encryption and affect privacy protection for users.

Cathcart, who previously worked with Facebook and took over the role at WhatsApp from Chris Daniels, is scheduled to be present at an event around technology enabling digital inclusion with Niti Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant on Thursday.

Under the partnership with ISPP, a series of privacy design workshops (co-hosted by TTC Labs) will be held. These workshops, aimed at future policy makers, will start from September 17.

Luis Miranda, Founder Director of Indian School of Public Policy (ISPP), said the changing Indian landscape will require leaders who can tackle its unique problems and begin to formulate creative solutions for the future.

"We are glad to be partnering with WhatsApp and TTC Labs to help our students better understand privacy centric product design so they can help create a robust policy ecosystem that creates positive impact for India," Miranda said. PTI SR

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