Something’s up with WhatsApp in France

Something's up with WhatsApp in France

ELISABETH BORNE: France’s PM said WhatsApp is a security risk Photo credit: CC/Jacques Paquier

FRANCE’S government ministers must stop using WhatsApp by December 8.

In a memo quoted by online publication, POLITICO, the country’s PM, Elisabeth Borne maintained that neither WhatsApp nor lesser-used Signal “were devoid of security flaws”.

The document dated November 22 warned that the apps could not guarantee that the conversations and shared information were secure.

Ministers and government officials must instead switch to the French app, Olvid, an instant messaging app with encrypted messages and metadata that has been certified by ANSSI, France’s cybersecurity agency.

Tchap, a government-developed secure messaging and collaboration app that was launched in 2019 and mentioned in the government document, will also be allowed.

Jean-Noel Barrot, France’s junior minister responsible for Digital Transition, said that he and his team had used Olvid since July 2022.

“In December, the entire government will be using the world’s most secure instant messaging system,” Barrot confirmed on X.

The November 22 memo follows a government directive issued in March, ordering civil servants to remove all social media platforms, gaming and video-streaming apps – including TikTok, CandyCrush and Netflix – from work devices over cybersecurity and privacy concerns.

Available free on Android, iOS and computers, Olvid does not require a phone number to register but is relatively unknown to the general public.

Until now France’s ministers and government officials have all used WhatsApp, Sngal and Telegram when communicating with the media, while President Emmanuel Macron is said to be keen user of messaging apps.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.

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