Indian Govt Creating Its Own Whatsapp-Type Chat App; Will Govt Ban Whatsapp For All Govt Employees?

Indian Govt Creating Its Own Whatsapp-Type Chat App; Will Govt Ban Whatsapp For All Govt Employees?
Indian Govt Creating Its Own Whatsapp-Type Chat App; Will Govt Ban Whatsapp For All Govt Employees?

The Facebook-owned messaging app, Whatsapp is the most user-loving messaging app in the world currently. 

The Indian government is in the process of setting up its own instant messaging service for smartphones. 

Read to find out more…

Why Is There a Need for Another Instant Messaging Service?

This launch is aimed at improving confidentiality in official communications.

The new messaging platform is still under pilot tests. The trial runs conducted by the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY), will be named Government Instant Messaging Service (GIMS). 

The messaging service is expected to be launched later in 2020.  Sources said, apart from Central government offices and departments, GIMS may also be used by state governments if they so desire.

A senior government official said that States like Odisha and Gujarat are also participating in the beta testing.

More information About GIMS!

GIMS is a unified messaging platform being developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), which also sets up the email service for government departments. Currently, the NIC-created government e-mail service handles more than 2 crore emails daily.

A senior government official said that GIMS has been built through an open source solution in accordance with the policy on adoption of open source software for government by MeitY, thus, ensuring government’s strategic control over the solution. It provides a multilingual platform with 11 local languages and a go-live in English and Hindi initially that will be followed by other languages.

In addition the official said, “The app (GIMS) has been developed for both Android and iOS platforms and at present beta testing is going on. A total of 17 government organisations including ministry of external affairs (MEA), ministry of home affairs (MHA), CBI, MeitY, Navy and railways are participating in the testing. Currently, there are around 6,600 users who have generated close to 20 lakh messages.” 

Can Govt Ban Whatsapp For Govt Employees?

Ever since the hacking software: Pegasus was discovered, and found to be snooping on Govt employees, stealing sensitive information, Govt has been alarmed.

Now, they don’t wish to use third-party apps like Whatsapp, Facebook Messengers, Skype etc to share critical information. And the development of a new Whatsapp-app can a major step towards this direction.

A former government official, who has handled cyber security threats against the government in the past, said that such a service is very important, especially in light of software like Pegasus, which can be used to snoop on conversations on WhatsApp.

He explained saying, “Today, almost every ministry has its own chat group on commercial platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat, etc. Often officials discuss strategic and sensitive issues on these platforms. With cyber criminals or rogue states targeting such communication, it is high time India has its own government instant messaging service. Such services are crucial today for effective and efficient administration.”

This leads to a speculation that maybe, Govt. can ban Whatsapp for all official communication, and rely only on their own chat app.

We will keep you updated, as more details come in.

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