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Canada Bans WeChat and Kaspersky on Government-Issued Devices

Canada has decided to prohibit the use of the Chinese messaging app WeChat and the Russian antivirus programme Kaspersky.

Canada has decided to ban the Chinese messaging application WeChat and the Russian antivirus program Kaspersky from government-issued mobile devices. 

This action comes in response to concerns about privacy and security risks associated with these apps.

No Compromised Government Information:

The ban was implemented following an assessment by Canada’s chief information officer, which determined that WeChat, owned by Tencent, and applications developed by Moscow-based Kaspersky pose an “unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security.” 

However, the Treasury Board of Canada, responsible for public administration, clarified that there’s no evidence of government information having been compromised.

Kaspersky’s Reaction:

In response to the ban, Kaspersky expressed surprise and disappointment. 

The company stated that the decision was made without prior warning or the opportunity to address the government’s concerns. 

Kaspersky also emphasized that the ban lacks evidence or due process, characterizing it as a response to the geopolitical climate rather than a comprehensive evaluation of the integrity of its products and services.

WeChat’s Response:

WeChat has not yet responded to the ban or issued an official statement.

The Treasury Board of Canada justified the decision by stating that while there is no evidence of data compromise, the data collection methods employed by these applications allow for considerable access to a device’s contents. 

To safeguard the government of Canada’s networks and data, the ban was seen as necessary to maintain security and align with the practices of international partners.

Immediate Actions and Future Access:

The ban’s implementation began on Monday, with WeChat and Kaspersky being removed from government-issued mobile devices. 

Furthermore, users will be prevented from downloading these applications in the future.

This move follows Canada’s earlier ban on TikTok, a short video app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, imposed due to similar privacy and security concerns regarding government-issued devices.

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