Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Share on Email

Share More

LoneFighter (IT)     15 August 2014

Can whatsapp messages be accepted as proof

Hi experts,

I know that electronic form of evidence can be accepted as proof in the court, but whatsapp messages can be easily tampered.

1) One can spoof whatsapp to create account with same account number on two different mobile by MAC address spoofing.

2) If the message sequence is like

-> A --> Hi

-> B--> I will kill you

-->A--> I will kill you

-->B--> Are you going to kill me, let me file a case.

 

If A doesnt have above chat on his whatsapp account, if B has, if B can delete one message 'B--> I will kill you'. The total message sounds different as if only A wants to kill B.

I was just wondering if can so happen in court that, can one argue not to accept whatsapp messags in court.?

Thanks,



 15 Replies

laxmi kant joshi (instructor)     15 August 2014

if message is tempered , edited or if it is not in its original form and on the basis of that it is challanged then it is not admissible in the court..

AS   15 August 2014

Dont try to do it if u have simple case ...only if u have cyber crime case then these things get some value ...but again u r editing messages so no use....

AS   15 August 2014

Dont try to do it if u have simple case ...only if u have cyber crime case then these things get some value ...but again u r editing messages so no use....

AS   15 August 2014

Dont try to do it if u have simple case ...only if u have cyber crime case then these things get some value ...but again u r editing messages so no use....

LoneFighter (IT)     15 August 2014

its being produced as evidence in a criminal case.

Thanks Experts. 

Court will never know if its tampered or not. As i said, anyone could delete any message in the middle of one or two messages, the whole set of messages will make a different sense altogether..

How can someone prove that if they are not really tampered. Whatsapp doesnot store anythign on their server side. So there is every possibility that the messages could hv been deleted in the middle or so...

 

If we could demostrate that they can be easily tampered or could hv been sent by hacked whatsapp does that hold good to not consider it as evidence at all. I heard Pramod Mahajan's murder trail, somethign like that is done..

Ashok, Advocate (Lawyer at Delhi)     23 August 2014

Please remember that even if one of the parties to a conversation / chatting on Whatsapp deletes a message partly, even then the whole conversation may still be available verbatim on the servers of Whatsapp. Moreover, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may (possibly) also have copy of the conversation on its own servers. So, if there is a police investigation, the police can get the details from those servers. Moreover, the courts can also requisition such details from these companies.

 

Secondly, there is no doubt that messages on Whatsapp will amount to evidence. How much reliable or trustworthy or how weight is to be attached to them, will be of course a subject matter of appreciation of evidence.

LoneFighter (IT)     24 August 2014

Hi Ashok,

Thanks for the reply.

Whatsapp do not store messages on their server side. ISP wont be able to do it, because messages are not sent as plain text, since they can be intercepted easily. No one will get to know if someone deletes the message in the middle and the whole conversation sounds different. 

Whatsapp allows you to take a backup on mobile, but that backup is also taken once in a day, lets say i delete a few messages in the middle of whole chat today and tomorrow the backup will be taken of what all messages are left in the chat.... so its no big deal to tamper whatsapp messages. One can easily tamper it if other party donot possess the whole chat..

"will be of course a subject matter of appreciation of evidence." could you please explain this... .

Ashok, Advocate (Lawyer at Delhi)     24 August 2014

Though I have not cross-checked, as far as I understand, most of the online companies providing such services (such as whatsapp) save the conversations for their own safety to protect themselves in future court cases, though of course, the conversations may be saved only for a limited duration. Now that Whatsapp has been taken over by Facebook, there is all the more reason to believe that such conversations on whatsapp might perhaps be saved on their servers at least for a limited time period. In fact, even the mobile phone companies save all the SMS messages sent over mobile phones for a reasonable period (I think it is for one year or so).

 

Moreover, usually whatever content is downloaded / uploaded from or to the Internet is NOT encrypted. When you login to a secure website (HTTPS), the login details are encrypted when they are transmitted to the server, but further communication (i.e., after the login) may or may not be encrypted. Moreover, even if such further communication is encrypted, it may be stored on servers and can perhaps be decrypted when requested by the law enforcement agencies or the courts. There is a difference between login details which are encrypted using HASH functions (which use one-way encryption that cannot be decrypted) and other communication which is encrypted using normal encryption algorithms.

 

In any case, presuming that such whatsapp messages are not saved anywhere (either on whatsapp servers or by the ISP or by anyone else) and also presuming that such messages can be tempered with by the user, in that case their evidential value will be reduced greatly and it can be proved by the concerned party to a litigation that such conversation was tempered with.

 

 

Regarding your second query asking me to explain my last statement in my previous message, let me point out that under the Evidence Act, there are limitations as to what would be allowed as evidence. Not every fact can be considered to be “evidence”, and moreover, evidence can be tendered only in the ways permissible under the Evidence Act. Further, once certain “evidence” has been adduced in the court, it does not mean that it will always be considered by the court to be “gospel truth”. There may be counter-evidence. For example, the statement of a witness before a court may be evidence, a document exhibited before a court may be evidence, but whether or not such evidence is reliable, truthful and trustworthy, will be decided by the court by analysing it along with all other pieces of evidence adduced in that case. Therefore, “admissibility” of evidence is one thing, and its “reliability” is quite another thing. It is in this sense that I had stated in my previous message that “(h)ow much reliable or trustworthy or how much weight is to be attached to them, will be of course a subject matter of appreciation of evidence”. I hope I have made myself clear on this issue.


(Guest)

BTW, how a whatsapp message can be spoofed?? You need a mobile number to register an account with WhatsApp, SMSs can be spoofed but how one will get an incoming message to a mobile number if one does not own the sim??


WhatsApp and WeChat do store messages on their server though they do not provide easily even in criminal cases as they are not Indian Companies and their servers are outside Indian Legal System though it is not difficult to get the details. Rest even if the backup has not taken in the mobile then also the messages that have come in the mobile where WhatsApp is installed gets stored somewhere in storage which can be recovered.

 

Though could not understand the thread but could not understand the technicality of the post

LoneFighter (IT)     25 August 2014

@Ashok Sir: Thats rather a awesome explanation i must say. 

FYI: Whatsapp doesnot store messages, not even when and what time message is being sent to any other user. Whatsapp has 500 million active users. They do not want to store all the images, text audio that is being sent every second by almost half of them. I am sure of this since i have gone through whatsapp faq.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/21663738/whatsapp-data-storage-all-data-stored-locally-on-phone

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

in whatsapp, the total data will be stored in mobile. Every message and images will store in your phone. The chat history will be in your mobile database and images will be in gallery with a folder name whatsapp.

If u deleted image in gallery-whatsapp , you will not be able to see the deleted image in whatsapp. the deleted image in whatsapp will be looking blured, if u click on it you will get a error message saying"sorry this media file doesn't exist on your SD card".

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

@Learning Law: Yes whatsapp can be spoofed to be created with same number on two mobiles. 
We have to spoof the mac address on a rooted android mobile.
 
https://gizmostorm.com/how-to-spy-on-someone-else-whatsapp-account-from-your-android/
 
All these posts are for educational purpose, i dont intend to promote any of the above. 

(Guest)

I was wondering why the messages were deleted though you can refer this:


https://www.whatsapp.com/faq/en/general/20951546

 

Might be after delievery they delete it from the servers but if it was there in the server then could be restored though they state in their policy like many VPN companies do but if there would be any legal reason to ask the details they can provide it, I guess so though not to Indian Police as many cases are still pending coz of WhatsApp and WeChat.

 

https://www.whatsapp.com/faq/en/general/21009863

 

Rest have you tried the things?? I knew about mac spoof and sim cloning as well but WhatsApp works with sim so if you would have stated Sim spoofing I would have agreed though not declining the mac thing as every software has bugs and fixes.

 

LoneFighter (IT)     27 August 2014

Hi Learning law,

Thanks for the reply. I was just trying to explain whatsapp messages can very well be used against the other person if other person do not have chat saved or stored on his mobile. Like i said, deleting one or more messages in the whole conversation could change the complete meaning and no one can ever know if the messages were there or not.. since like sms, no one can say that the message has been delivered at this time. 

 

I have mailed whatsapp regarding some minor issues, it took them 3 weeks to reply, I dont blame them, they are 49 employee company and have to answer 500 million people


(Guest)

I got you :)

abdul qadir   16 October 2017

I have one question here. Suppose i scanned your whatsapp on my laptop then i have the access of your whatsapp. And if i send any msg from web whatsapp to anyone. In that case the msg can be traced or not that it has been sent from laptop not through mobile.


Leave a reply

Your are not logged in . Please login to post replies

Click here to Login / Register  



Post a Suggestion for LCI Team
Post a Legal Query