Canada Prohibits Use of WeChat and Kaspersky Apps on Government Devices

    On October 31, 2023, the Canadian government banned Tencent’s WeChat and Kaspersky’s applications for government mobile devices. They cited an “unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security” as the reason.

    The government’s official statement read, “Our commitment is to the security of government information and networks. We constantly watch for threats and act fast.”

    Starting October 30, 2023, government mobile devices no longer feature WeChat and Kaspersky apps. Moreover, users can’t download these apps anymore.

    Anita Anand, the President of the Treasury Board, highlighted the extensive device access these apps offer. She stressed the government’s dedication to a risk-based cybersecurity approach.

    WeChat is a product of Tencent. This app, used for messaging, social media, and payments, boasts over 1 billion monthly active users.

    In response, Kaspersky, a Russian cybersecurity firm, argued that politics influenced the ban more than an in-depth product assessment.

    This decision mirrors Canada’s earlier stance on TikTok, a ByteDance product. They banned it from government devices in February 2023 due to similar concerns. Furthermore, in March 2022, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) flagged Kaspersky as a potential national security threat.

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