Swiss Army bans the use of WhatsApp, Telegram, others

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Image Credit: The Independent

The Swiss Army has ditched foreign chat app for homegrown ones. With this new development, it is now an obligation for the army in that country to use locally made ones. Citing privacy concerns, apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal will no longer be used by the army in Switzerland.

The announcement was made in a letter sent to top army hierarchy last December. The ban is also based on the US authorities’ ability to access data, the AFP reports.

In the original letter, the army chiefs were reportedly told that “no other messaging service will be authorized,” although a spokesperson subsequently seemed to tone down the strength of the decree, describing it to the AP as a “recommendation.”

The big worry for the Swiss army is the ability of the US to access data stored by companies that is within its [US] jurisdiction, as contained in the US CLOUD Act. According to the CLOUD Act, services are obliged to comply with search warrants, regardless of where they are located.  

The Swiss army instead, have been instructed to switch to locally-made Threema app. As locally made app, Threema’s servers will be hosted in Switzerland—where it will not be obliged to respond to warrants from the US.  

Early in 2021, federal lawmakers in the US called for a ban to be placed on the use of TikTok on federal devices. That was not the first time such was being proposed. In July 2020, the federal lawmakers had barred federal workers from downloading TikTok on their devices.

The legislation has now been reintroduced by a group of Republicans led by Sen. Josh Hawley. Citing potential national security concerns, the move is aimed at stopping the use of the video sharing app on the devices of federal workers.

TikTok is a Trojan horse for the Chinese Communist Party that has no place on government devices-or any American devices, for that matter,” Hawley said in a statement per The Hill. “My bill is a straightforward plan to protect American government data from a hostile foreign power, which, less than a year ago, passed the Senate unanimously.”

The House had in July 2020 voted 336-71 to pass the proposal, offered by Rep. Ken Buck as part of a package of bipartisan amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act. The prohibition according to the report, is expected to extend to members of Congress and congressional staff.

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Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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