The new rules in relation to the ban on the use of international messaging applications by Swiss Army personnel came into effect in December. Data protection and privacy concerns were cited as the main reasons for this move, and all personnel has been asked to switch to the locally developed substitute, Threema.
According to reports, the ability of Washington authorities to access the data kept by corporations subject to US jurisdiction, as indicated in the US CLOUD Act, appeared to be a serious concern. Threema, on the other hand, is not required to adhere to the search request due to the company’s Swiss location. The new application also conforms to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union.
Similar data and national security issues have been expressed in India regarding military personnel’s usage of foreign mobile applications, which could jeopardise security. The Indian Army had also requested that its personnel remove 89 mobile apps, including Facebook, PUBG, Zoom, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok, following the Centre’s 2020 ban on several Chinese mobile apps on security and privacy grounds. The Indian Army has developed a new messaging tool called “ASIGMA” (Army Secure Custom Messaging Application). The application can be accessed using mobile phones connected to the Army’s internal network.
Last year, similarly, Russia’s Defence Ministry announced that it would develop cell phones and mobile applications for armed units for better security and data privacy.
-Adv. Sabrina Bath
(Content Writer, WCSF)