Swiss army bans WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram and chooses local messaging

The Swiss army has banned WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram messaging during service operations, preferring a Swiss messaging system, an army spokesman announced Thursday, January 7, confirming information from the German-speaking Swiss daily Daily indicator.

At the end of December, the Swiss army sent an email to all commanders and chiefs of staff, asking the military to use Swiss Threema messaging, revealed Daily indicator. The recommendation applies ” to everybody “, including to the conscripts who come for the first time to do their military service, but also to those who return for the period known as “rehearsal courses”, in this country where conscripts must regularly return to the army over the years. following for training, said Daniel Reist, the spokesperson for the army.

The question of the use of couriers has arisen in particular during operations linked to Covid-19 to support hospitals and the vaccination program, in which conscripts may be called upon to participate, Mr Reist said.

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A paid application

Already used in public administrations in Switzerland, Threema messaging has been judged to be more secure in terms of data protection, while other messaging systems such as WhatsApp are subject to the Cloud Act. This American law, passed in 2018, allows American judges to order access to data held by American operators, even if this data is on servers outside the United States.

Unlike WhatsApp, owned by the American company Meta (formerly Facebook), or Signal, Threema is not free, but the Swiss army will cover the cost of downloading the application: 4 Swiss francs ( 3.85 euros) per user.

Communications are end-to-end encrypted and users do not need to link their identifier to a phone number or email, says the Swiss company, which claims 10 million users, including 2 million for its messaging service intended for professional use. “It’s a special seal of approval for us”, commented Roman Flepp, Marketing Director of Threema.

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Launched at the end of 2012 by three young computer engineers, the first version of the messaging system quickly met with strong demand, quickly bringing together some 250,000 users. A series of revelations the following year – including the Prism surveillance program unveiled by Edward Snowden or the scandal surrounding German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone tapping – had caused the number of users to jump before it exploded. in 2014, when Facebook bought WhatsApp.

In 2016, Threema launched a professional version of its messaging system, used in particular by public institutions but also by large companies. Around 80% of its users are located in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The World with AFP

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Swiss army bans WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram and chooses local messaging

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