Swiss army restricts use of messenger apps

The army command wants to make internal communications via app more secure and has banned the use of Whatsapp, Signal and Telegram. Keystone/Peter Klaunzer

The use of the WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram messenger services for military purposes in the Swiss armed forces is to be banned.

This content was published on January 5, 2022 minutes

Instead, the Swiss Threema software is to be used as a tool for digital communication.

Data security is one of the reasons for the policy change, according to an army spokesman quoted in a report by Tamedia newspapers on Wednesday.

Threema is based in Switzerland and not subject to legislation in another country, such as in the United States, where the so-called Cloud Act compels America-based technology firms to make data available upon legal request. Threema operates in line with European Union data regulations, the army spokesman said.

The annual fees charged to Threema users will be paid by the army, but critics say there are no sanctions planned for army members who continue to use other messenger tools.

During the army’s support missions during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, it became obvious that the flow of information between different units needed to be improved, another army spokesman confirmed to the Keystone-SDA news agency .

WhatsApp is the most popular messenger application among 16- to 64-year-olds in Switzerland, according to surveys.

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