The Swiss Armed Forces have banned their personnel from using messengers such as the application WhatsApp during the service. Instead, they should use a Swiss messaging app.
The decision was made for security reasons of course, and for data protection. The costs will be borne by the army.
The decision in her favor Swiss application Threema seems to have been taken since the end of 2021, because the following tweet is from that period. The whole issue, however, became more widely known in 2022.
- OS 𝙰𝚗𝚊𝚕𝚢𝚜𝚝 𝙰𝚗𝚊𝚕𝚢𝚜𝚝 (@OSINT_Tactical) -
Swiss-Info he said the decision with a post made on January 5, 2022. The decision of the army leadership is that in the future their members should use exclusively the Swiss messaging application Threema while on duty for security reasons.
All other SMS services will no longer be allowed.
The Tagesanzeiger reports: "All other services are no longer allowed." Thus, in the future, the army will prohibit its members from exchanging information with each other via Whatsapp, Signal or Telegram and transmitting official data through these channels.
Swiss Army spokesman Daniel Reist said:
We can not force anyone to download the Threema application on their personal device. In the future, every member of the army will be able to use the messenger he wants for private use. But official messages should be made through Threema in the future.
Of course the reason is privacy and security concerns. In January 2021, the FBI had revealed in a document which metadata can be retrieved by messenger services even from those they use end-to-end encryption.
According to Spiegel Online, the Army leadership states that Threema complies with the European General Data Protection Regulation and is not subject to the Cloud Act. This ensures that US authorities will not be able to access data stored on the Internet.
Threema does not even require a phone number for the messages, but once does charge a very small amount to purchase the app. But the Swiss army will cover the costs.
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