Canada is banning the use of the Chinese instant messaging application WeChat on any government-issued mobile devices, citing the need to keep “government information and networks secure.”
Treasury Board President Anita Anand announced the immediate “risk-based” ban Monday, which is also being applied to the Russian Kaspersky suite of anti-virus and IT security applications. These applications are being removed from all government-issued mobile devices, and users will be blocked from downloading these apps going forward.
“The Chief Information Officer of Canada determined that WeChat and Kaspersky suite of applications present an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security,” Anand said in a statement.
“On a mobile device, the WeChat and Kaspersky applications’ data collection methods provide considerable access to the device’s contents.”
The government said this decision was made to protect the security of federal networks and data, while emphasizing that despite the risks, there is “no evidence” that government information has been compromised.
As for whether individual Canadians should consider following the government’s lead, that remains “a personal choice,” Monday’s statement said.
This move follows the federal government’s decision in February to ban TikTok on government-issued devices, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called “a first step.”(opens in a new tab)
And, in August Canada’s foreign interference monitoring system detected an “information operation”(opens in a new tab) targeting Conservative MP Michael Chong, on the WeChat platform.
Source: CTV News