PARIS: The Prime Minister of France Elisabeth Borne has asked her cabinet members to say goodbye to WhatsApp and other popular instant messaging apps such as Signal, and Telegram.
According to a circular, Prime Minister Borne instructed ministers and their top-level staff to install the Olvid app on their phones and computers.
Olvid, a messaging app developed by a Paris-based startup, is being promoted as a more secure alternative. The objective is to heighten the security of exchanges involving confidential information, as confirmed by the Prime Minister’s office in response to reports from French media.
Olvid, created by two cryptography researchers and backed by various French tech accelerators, is set to replace other instant messaging systems, as per the Prime Minister’s office. The circular, reported by French magazine Le Point, sets a deadline of December 8 for ministers to transition away from their current messaging apps.
Prime Minister Borne highlighted the security flaws in widely-used digital tools, stating, “The main consumer instant messaging applications are playing an increasingly important role in our day-to-day communications.
However, these digital tools are not without security flaws and so cannot guarantee the security of conversations and information shared via them.” Popular messaging apps like Meta’s WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal have been widely used in French politics, even by government officials communicating with journalists. President Emmanuel Macron is known to be an avid user of messaging apps.
Olvid, as claimed on its website, positions itself as “the first and only messaging system” operating without reliance on trusted third parties and centralized servers, while also encrypting user metadata.