France works on its own WhatsApp for foreign surveillance risk

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The French government is creating its own encrypted message service to alleviate fears that foreign entities may spy private conversations among senior officials, the Digital Ministry said on Monday.

None of the main applications of encrypted messages in the world, including Facebook WhatsApp and Telegram -favorite French President Emmanuel Macron- are based in France, which increases the risk of data breach in servers outside the country.

Some 20 officials and high public servants are testing the new application that was designed by a developer employed by the State, said a ministry spokeswoman, with the aim that its use becomes mandatory for the entire government in the summer.

“We need to find a way to have an encrypted message service that is not encrypted by the United States or Russia,” the spokeswoman said. “You start thinking about the possible violations that could happen, as we saw with Facebook, so we should take the lead,” he added.

The US social network, which bought WhatsApp in 2014, has received strong criticism since it admitted that the information of millions of users ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica policy consultancy.

The application of encrypted messages of the French Government was developed on the basis of a program of free use found on the Internet and could be made available to all citizens, according to the spokesperson, who declined to give the name of both the program and the courier service .

erp

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