France builds WhatsApp rival to minimise the risk of data breaches

Aftermath of Facebook data controversy, France building its own messaging app to keep their data secure. Here is the detailed information.

By Karan

It seems that French government has lost its faith on WhatsApp and they have built their own encrypted messenger service to get rid of the fear that foreign entities will spy on the private and confidential conversations between top officials.

France builds WhatsApp rival  to minimise the risk of data breaches

President Emmanuel Macron's favourite messaging apps WhatsApp and Telegram are not based in France, which increases the risk of data breaches at servers outside the country.

20 officials including top civil servants are testing the new messenger app. The app is designed by a state-employed developer. A ministry spokeswoman said, "with the aim that its use will become mandatory for the whole government by the summer."

"We need to find a way to have an encrypted messaging service that is not encrypted by the United States or Russia," the spokeswoman said. "You start thinking about the potential breaches that could happen, as we saw with Facebook, so we should take the lead."

The US social network Facebook, which acquired WhatsApp in 2014, has drawn heavy criticism from all over the world after acknowledging that information about millions of users wrongly ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica.

The French government's encrypted app has been developed on the basis of free-to-use code found on the internet and could be eventually made available to all citizens, the spokeswoman said. However, she declined to give the names of the codes or the messaging service.

Macron's government or you can say, ministers have grown fond of the Telegram app. They used the app to plot his rise to power and his election campaign in 2017.

Since then, his lawmakers joined the app and president himself started coming online often on Telegram. But for privacy concerns, which started growing in early 2018, they stopped using the app. Later, mobile security system Thales was installed on the work smartphones of the officials, preventing the use of both WhatsApp and Telegram.

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Telegram and WhatsApp both the messaging apps promote themselves as ultra-secure applications, as their data is encrypted. Facebook-owned WhatsApp relies on the open industry standards, which is created by the developers behind Signal. On the other hand, Telegram relies on it sown home-grown encryption techniques.

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