In the wake of the recent Cambridge Analytical data scandal, many organizations, individuals and even countries are beginning to take security even more seriously. Apparently, France doesn’t feel it can trust Facebook enough to protect high level conversations between top government officials. To this end, the French government is already testing its own encrypted app to rival WhatsApp and Telegram.
According to Reuters, the French government is taking this step to “ease fears that foreign entities could spy on private conversations between top officials.”
Popular messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram are located in France, which the digital ministry feels poses significant threat to the country since their servers are located outside the country.
“We need to find a way to have an encrypted messaging service that is not encrypted by the United States or Russia,” a French spokeswoman said. “You start thinking about the potential breaches that could happen, as we saw with Facebook, so we should take the lead.”
The encrypted app, which was designed by a state-employed developer, is currently being tested by about 20 officials as well as top civil servants in the country. The government aims to make the use of the app mandatory for everyone in government by the summer.
There are chances that the encrypted app could be extended to users outside the government as officials plan to make it available to every citizen.
There are increasing fear among government officials across the globe over the ability of encrypted messaging apps to protect private data of its users. This has become major issues, and apps like WhatsApp and Instagram are likely to come under sustained pressure to house their data in respective countries.
A court in Moscow over the weekend granted Roskomnadzor, the Russian communications and technology watchdog an express right to ban Telegram. This follows Telegram’s failure to give Russian security service the ability to access users’ encrypted messages.
Roskomnadzor had prayed the court to block Telegram from operating in Russia, and that the ban should be immediate. Well, it didn’t take the court more than 18 minutes to grant the request even though lawyers to Telegram were not present at the hearing as a sign of protest.
The Supreme Court had last month turned down Telegram’s appeal against the Federal Security Service. Based on a ruling by Judge Alla Nazarova of the country’s Supreme Court, Communications regulator Roskomnadzor said Telegram had just 15 days from the date of that ruling to provide the encryption keys.
In is response to last month’s ruling of the Supreme Court, company lawyer, Ramil Akhmetgaliev said any decision to block the service would require a separate court ruling.
“Threats to block Telegram unless it gives up private data of its users won’t bear fruit. Telegram will stand for freedom and privacy,” Pavel Durov, founder of the messaging app said on his Twitter page.