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France to move ministers off Telegram, WhatsApp over security fears

France to move ministers off Telegram, WhatsApp over security fears
From TechCrunch - April 17, 2018

The French government has said it intends to move to using its own encrypted messaging service this summer, over concerns of the risks that foreign entities could spy on officials using popular encrypted apps such as Telegramand WhatsApp .

Reutersreports that ministers are concerned about the use of foreign-built encrypted apps which do not have servers in France. We need to find a way to have an encrypted messaging service that is not encrypted by the United States or Russia, a digital ministry spokeswoman told the news agency. You start thinking about the potential breaches that could happen, as we saw with Facebook, so we should take the lead.

Telegrams founder, Pavel Durov, is Russian, though the entrepreneur lives in exile and his messaging app has just been blocked in his home countryafter the company refused to hand over encryption keys to the authorities.

WhatsApp, which (unlike Telegram) is end-to-end encrypted across its entire platformusing the respected and open sourced SignalProtocolis nonetheless owned by U.S. tech giant Facebook,and developed out of the U.S. (as Signal also is).

Its parent company is currently embroiled in a major data misuse scandal after it emerged that tens of millions of Facebook users information was passed to a controversial political consultancy without their knowledge or consent.

The ministry spokeswoman said about 20 officials and top civil servants in the French government are testing the new messaging app, with the aim of its use becoming mandatory for the whole government by the summer.

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