I applaud the Swiss federal government’s direction to stop government officials from using WhatsApp, and the choice to employ end-to-end encryption in developing its planned secure messenger.
However, the lack of transparency about the chosen solution, developer and cost of development raises a red flag.
At Wire we have been advocating for the use of open source code, full transparency, and independent public security audits as the cornerstones for any communication solution that claims to be secure. Swiss government should follow these principles.
Government organizations everywhere around the world have critical challenges on their plate, they should not focus efforts on software development. Central, federal and local governments are better served by existing commercial solutions that meet their requirements.
GDPR put the spotlight on solutions that follow the new data protection rules and help organizations to continue business as usual. Adopting one of those solutions would help Swiss government to overcome the WhatsApp incompatibility with GDPR and the related “shadow IT” problem.
The benefits are numerous:
- Become GDPR compliant
- Move more of day-to-day communication into secure channels with conference calls, file sharing, etc
- Bring external collaborators under the same security and privacy “umbrella”
- Benefit from a proven product and clear budget — no development hell and stretchy budgets
- Stop data sharing with US technology providers
Thus the added bonus of adopting any one of those services to become GDPR compliant, to improve their security, and simplifying communication, governments can put their money where their mouth is by supporting European tech sector.
Morten Brogger, CEO, Wire