The Swiss army has prohibited its troops from using Meta-owned WhatsApp and other popular messaging services, citing privacy concerns. According to www.swissinfo.ch, the army staff has been instructed to utilize the encrypted Swiss texting software ‘Threema’ instead.
The Swiss army has also prohibited the use of Signal and Telegram, in addition to WhatsApp.
The “power of authorities in Washington to access data stored by corporations that come under US jurisdiction, as stated in the US CLOUD Act,” according to sources, appears to be the key issue. According to reports, “the CLOUD Act requires service providers under US jurisdiction to comply with search warrants regardless of where servers are located.”
Threema would not be obligated to submit to such search orders because company is based in Switzerland. Threema also complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union (General Data Protection Regulation).
According to an army spokesman quoted in a Tamedia newspaper report, “data security is one of the reasons for the policy change.” According to local surveys, WhatsApp is the most popular messenger app among 16- to 64-year-olds in Switzerland.
Concerns about army personnel using foreign mobile applications have been raised in India as well, as they may jeopardize security.
After the Indian Army asked its personnel to delete 89 apps, including Facebook, PUBG, Zoom, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok, among others, after the Centre banned several Chinese mobile apps over security concerns in 2020, the Indian Army asked its personnel to delete 89 apps, including Facebook, PUBG, Zoom, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok, among others, as well as several dating apps.
The Indian Army has now created ‘ASIGMA,’ a modern texting tool (Army Secure IndiGeneous Messaging Application).
The application can be utilized on mobile phones that are connected to the army’s internal network. According to the defense ministry, “the application is being installed on the Army’s internal network as a replacement for the Army Wide Area Network (AWAN) messaging application, which has been in use for the previous 15 years.”
Last year, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it will build smartphone and mobile apps for military troops.
The US military has also experienced app-related issues. After an American launch issued the Global Exercise Heat Map in 2018, a fitness observer compromised U.S. locations and patrol routes around the world, not by an ambassador, but by a fitness observer.
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