France prohibits government staff from using WhatsApp


(MENAFN) In a move aimed at enhancing cybersecurity, the French government has officially prohibited its employees from using popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal for internal communications. The ban, set to take effect on December 8, is outlined in a memo from Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. The decision is driven by concerns over security vulnerabilities associated with these widely-used messaging platforms.

Instead of the banned apps, cabinet members have been encouraged to adopt the use of the French encrypted messaging app, Olvid. Unlike its global counterparts, Olvid operates without requiring a SIM card or phone number from users and offers encryption not only for message content but also for metadata. Notably, Olvid is the only messaging platform to receive a security certificate from the French National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (ANSSI). Additionally, the use of another French messaging app, Tchap, is also permitted under the new guidelines.

This stringent policy mirrors a similar approach taken by the Swiss military last year, which mandated soldiers to cease using popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal. Instead, they were directed to use Threema, a domestically-developed encrypted messaging service, for both official and private communications.

The recent memo from Prime Minister Borne is the second instance of app bans for French public servants this year. In March, Minister of Public Services Stanislas Guerini announced the prohibition of "recreational apps" like TikTok on government phones due to security risks.

Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, Candy Crush, and dating apps were also included in the earlier ban.

The decision reflects an ongoing effort by the French government to bolster digital security measures and protect sensitive information from potential threats. As the threat landscape evolves, governments around the world are increasingly adopting strict measures to ensure the cybersecurity of their internal communications and data.

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