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Members of French govt banned from using Telegram and WhatsApp: Reason revealed

Members of French govt banned from using Telegram and WhatsApp: Reason revealed Illustrative photo (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

Members of the French government have been urged to stop using messaging apps like Signal, WhatsApp, and Telegram. This decision is linked to cybersecurity concerns, states Prime Minister of the Republic, Élisabeth Borne.

In a circular, the head of the government asks ministers and members of the cabinet to install the French application Olvid to address cybersecurity issues.

It is noted that officials will need to remove all messaging applications not verified by the National Agency for Information Systems Security by December 8th. In other words, all government members will have to refrain from using WhatsApp, as well as Telegram or Signal.

"The main consumer messaging apps are increasingly prevalent in our daily communication. However, these digital tools are not immune to security vulnerabilities," said the prime minister.

About Olvid

The material states that the document specifically mentions the use of the French application Olvid, presented as the "only platform for private messages that has received a first-level security certificate."

Olvid offers end-to-end encryption of messages and does not require the use of a SIM card, therefore not requiring a phone number. Additionally, Olvid's metadata (sender and recipient identities, message sending time) are encrypted, unlike what WhatsApp offers.

The app is available for free to the general public on both iOS and Android.

Telegram's activity in Ukraine

Discussions about restricting Telegram channel activities have been ongoing for some time. One of the first to bring it up was the former Minister of Culture and Information Policy, Oleksandr Tkachenko.

Recently, Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov, in an interview with RBC-Ukraine, spoke about the danger posed by anonymous Telegram channels. According to him, there has been a recent increase in the popularity of anonymous public channels in Ukraine.

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov mentioned that Telegram channels in Ukraine should adhere to transparency in their activities. The main requirement for public channels is the elimination of anonymity.