Citing privacy concerns, the Swiss military has banned the use of Meta-owned WhatsApp among other popular messaging services by military personnel. The military staff has been asked to use the encrypted Swiss messaging application “Threema” instead, reports www.swissinfo. Besides WhatsApp, the Swiss military has also banned the use of Signal and Telegram. According to reports, the main concern appears to be the “ability of Washington authorities to access data stored by companies under US jurisdiction, as described in the US CLOUD Act.”
“The CLOUD Act requires service providers under US jurisdiction to comply with search warrants, regardless of the location of the servers,” according to the reports. Since Threema is based in Switzerland, it would not be required to respond to such search warrants. Threema also operates in accordance with the European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). “Data security is one of the reasons for the policy change, according to an army spokesperson quoted in a report from the Tamedia newspaper.
WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app among 16-64 year olds in Switzerland, according to local surveys. Such concerns about the use of foreign mobile apps by military officials have also been raised in India as they could compromise security. After the Center banned several Chinese mobile apps for security reasons in 2020, the Indian military asked its staff to remove 89 apps, including Facebook, PUBG, Zoom, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok, etc., as well. as several dating apps.
The Indian Army has now launched a contemporary messaging application called “ASIGMA” (Army IndiGeneous Secure Messaging Application). The app can be used on mobile phones using the Army’s internal network. “The application is deployed on the internal army network replacing the Army Wide Area Network (AWAN) messaging application which has been in service for 15 years,” according to the Department of Defense.
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