The French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne has issued a directive to ban the use of popular messaging apps WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal by ministers and their staff, citing security risks.
The directive, dated November 29, 2023, states that these apps have "known vulnerabilities" and "do not guarantee the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data exchanged".
The government officials are instructed to switch to using Olvid, a secure messaging app that has been certified by the French National Cybersecurity Agency (ANSSI). The deadline for the transition is December 8, 2023. Olvid claims to offer "the highest level of security" and "end-to-end encryption without requiring access to the users' phone numbers or contact lists".
Another alternative that is allowed by the directive is Tchap, a messaging app developed by the French government itself. Tchap was launched in 2019 as a secure communication platform for public servants, but it faced some initial security issues that were later fixed.
The French Digital Minister Jean-Noël Barrot confirmed on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) that he and his team have been using Olvid since July 2022. He praised the app as "a great example of French innovation in cybersecurity".
This is not the first time that the French government has taken measures to protect its digital sovereignty and security. In October 2023, Borne ordered civil servants to remove various apps from their work devices, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Netflix, Spotify and Fortnite. The order said that these apps posed "risks to the protection of personal data and the security of information systems". (ILKHA)
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