Canada Bans Tencent and Kaspersky Apps for Government Employees
WeChat Banned from Government Phones for Security
Canada has recently announced a ban on the use of applications developed by Tencent and Kaspersky on government-issued mobile devices due to concerns over privacy and security risks. The decision was made to ensure the security of government information and networks.
"The Government of Canada is committed to keeping government information and networks secure," stated the Canadian government. "We regularly monitor potential threats and take immediate action to address risks."
Effective October 30, 2023, Tencent's WeChat and Kaspersky's suite of applications have been removed from government-issued mobile devices. Moving forward, users of these devices will be prevented from downloading these apps.
Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board, explained the reasoning behind the ban, stating, "We are taking a risk-based approach to cybersecurity by removing access to these applications on government mobile devices." Anand further emphasized that these apps provide significant access to the device's contents.
WeChat, developed by Tencent, is a popular Chinese instant messaging, social media, and mobile payment app with over 1 billion monthly active users, making it one of the largest online platforms.
Kaspersky, a Russian cybersecurity vendor, expressed their disagreement with the ban, suggesting that it is politically motivated rather than based on a comprehensive evaluation of their products and services. They believe the actions taken by the Canadian government are "highly unsupported and a response to the geopolitical climate."
This ban on Tencent and Kaspersky apps on government mobile devices follows Canada's decision to ban TikTok, owned by ByteDance, in February 2023 for similar reasons. In March 2022, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) added Kaspersky to the "Covered List" of companies that pose an "unacceptable risk to national security.
By implementing these measures, Canada aims to protect sensitive government information from potential privacy and security breaches posed by these applications. The ban demonstrates the government's commitment to maintaining the integrity and security of its networks and information systems.
It remains to be seen whether other countries will follow suit and take similar actions against Tencent and Kaspersky apps, as cybersecurity concerns continue to grow on a global scale.