France bans government employees from WhatsApp — RT World News

Cabinet members must use French messaging apps, which are supposedly more secure and private than mass-market alternatives

French government employees have been officially banned from using WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal and other messaging apps widely used for internal communications due to security vulnerabilities, a memo from Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, obtained by French broadcaster BFMTV on Wednesday, revealed. The ban goes into effect on December 8.

Instead, Cabinet members are encouraged to use encrypted French messaging app Olvid, which, unlike its global rivals, does not require a SIM card or phone number from its users and encrypts metadata as well as message content. The French app, which is said to be more private and secure than these competitors, is the only messaging platform to have received a security certification from the French National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (ANSSI). Another French messaging app, Tchap, is also allowed.

The rule is similar to the policy adopted by the Swiss Army, which ordered soldiers to stop using the three popular messaging apps last year and use Threema, a locally developed encrypted messaging service, for official and private conversations.

Bourne’s memo marks the second round of app bans for French public sector employees this year. In March, Public Services Minister Stanislas Gerini announced that “Tik Tok and the like”Entertainment applications“They are banned on government phones due to the security risks they pose. Twitter and Instagram are also blocked, as are the streaming video platform Netflix, Candy Crush, and dating apps.

At the same time, the National Assembly urged representatives to “LimitTheir use of TikTok, which has been banned on government phones in nearly a dozen countries and the European Union over data security concerns. Lawmakers were also encouraged to reduce their use of Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal.

While WhatsApp theoretically offers encrypted messages, the company, a subsidiary of Meta, Facebook’s parent company, has been known to easily hand over user data to the US government without even suspecting the user of having committed a crime. A vulnerability in the app also allowed the Israeli spy tool Pegasus to be installed on a user’s phone without requiring any action from that user, who had to click on a link to inadvertently turn his phone into a surveillance device. French President Emmanuel Macron personally changed his phone and number in 2021 after he and 14 of his government ministers were reportedly targeted for surveillance by Morocco using Pegasus software.

In July, the French government adopted a law allowing law enforcement agencies to remotely access cameras, microphones, and location services of devices owned by individuals suspected of involvement in illegal activities punishable by up to five years in prison, such as terrorism. .

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