Friday, January 21, 2022

Swiss Army drops WhatsApp for homegrown messaging service, citing privacy concerns

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The Swiss military has banned the usage of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, and different international encrypted messaging companies by military personnel, in accordance with Associated Press experiences, and instructed workers to make use of the Swiss-made Threema app as an alternative. The announcement was made in a letter despatched to high military workers in December, citing privacy concerns primarily based on US authorities’ potential to entry knowledge.

The authentic letter reportedly advised military chiefs that “no other messaging service will be authorized,” though a spokesperson subsequently appeared to tone down the energy of the decree, describing it to the AP as a “recommendation.”

The major concern appears to be the flexibility of authorities in Washington to entry knowledge saved by corporations that fall beneath US jurisdiction, as described within the US CLOUD Act. The CLOUD Act obliges service suppliers beneath US jurisdiction to adjust to search warrants, no matter the place servers are situated.

As a Swiss firm with no servers hosted within the US, Threema wouldn’t be obliged to answer such search warrants.

Given the sturdy privacy protections mandated by European GDPR rules, privacy advocates and multinational firms alike had hoped that information saved within the EU could be exterior the purview of the US courtroom system.

However, in January 2020, a New York federal decide dominated that compliance with international privacy legal guidelines didn’t negate an obligation to supply paperwork in discovery, in a case associated to the SEC’s pursuit of the Telegram messaging app for not adequately registering its cryptocurrency token sale.

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