Swiss Army bans WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal

Soldiers now only allowed to use local messaging app Threema, which does not collect any user data

Swiss Army bans WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal

DPA / Picture Alliance via REUTERS

The Swiss military is now prohibiting its soldiers from using messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal for information security reasons to transmit images, texts and voice messages related to official matters. Soldiers are now only allowed to use the Swiss messaging app Threema.

German website reports that this new regulation has been in effect since the turn of the year. At the end of December, the military had instructed all unit commanders to only use the  Threema messenger app for business communication with business and private smartphones, and that other ways of communication are no longer permitted.

Threema guarantees end-to-end encrypted communication, which uses only servers located in Switzerland and does not collect any user data. From software development to support, everything is Swiss. According to Threema GmbH, the service is fully GDPR-compliant and the user does not leave any digital traces.

Unlike the US service Whatsapp, Threema has no need in personal information such as phone numbers or names. Users can chat anonymously as no mobile phone number is required. Each user generates a random Threema ID when setting up the app. 

The advantage of this solution is that soldiers on and off duty remain connected via the app and can quickly exchange ideas whenever needed. Moreover, since it is a civilian app, the user group is not limited to active soldiers. This way, the army can also employ the civilian knowledge of its members.

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