France to Move Ministers Off WhatsApp and Telegram Over Security Fears

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It looks like the French government is concerned about the possibility of security breach and risks faced by the foreign entities that could be made possible by the use of popular encrypted apps like WhatsApp and Telegram.

In what seems to be a recent move that strengthens the suspicions, the government has informed that it intends to move its ministers off WhatsApp and Telegram and rather wants to use its own encrypted messaging service.

A recent report by Reuters pointed that the ministers in France are a bit more concerned about their use of encrypted apps build by others that do not actually have any servers in France. A spokeswoman for its digital ministry was noted saying that they need to find a way to create their own encrypted messaging service rather than depend on those built by the U.S. or Russia stressing about the possibility of potential breaches. He referred to the recent Facebook fiasco while stressing the need to take a lead.

The Telegram app is developed by a Russian Pavel Durov who is living in exile after refusing to handover the encryption keys to the authorities. His app is blocked in his country ever since. Unlike Telegram, WhatsApp is encrypted end-to-end using the open source signal platform. It is owned by Facebook but the signals are developed outside U.S.

The spokeswoman also added that the new messaging app is now being tested by as many as 20 officials and some civil servants in top positions and said that the government intends to make its use mandatory by all the members of government by the end of summer. It will later be available to all the citizens.

She further informed that the app is designed by a state-employed developer and it uses a free-to-use code which will be available online for downloads hinting that it is based on open-source platform. However, the spokeswoman denied mentioning the name of the app and the code it is using to develop the app.

France’s president Emmanuel Macron is apparently a very big fan of Telegram and the country’s secretary of state for digital Mounir Mahjoubi recently said that they are working on developing a secure messaging app which will not just depend on private offers. The government already uses some secure messaging apps that are developed by its IT supplier and defense group Thales.