Citing cybersecurity concerns, Canada has prohibited the Chinese super-app WeChat from being used on official government devices. This move follows an earlier this year restriction on the short-form video app TikTok.The most recent prohibition, which went into force on the same day it was announced, also applied to products developed by Russian antivirus software manufacturer Kaspersky Lab.According to the Treasury Board of Canada, which is in charge of public administration, Canada’s chief information officer has concluded that “WeChat and [the] Kaspersky suite of applications present an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security.”
According to the statement, both programs’ data collection techniques give users “considerable access” to their mobile device’s contents. It further stated that there was no proof of any compromise of official government data.The applications will be deleted from users’ Canadian government smartphones and their ability to download them in the future will be restricted.
has requested comments from Kaspersky Lab and Tencent, the company that owns Wechat.WeChat is among the most widely used apps globally. It’s sometimes compared to a combination of PayPal, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook.With the help of the social network, over 1 billion users—mostly from mainland China—can accomplish almost anything, including paying bills, scheduling a yoga session, and ordering groceries—all without ever leaving the app.Due to security concerns, the Canadian government prohibited TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, from being used on government-issued mobile devices in February.
Concerns have been raised by US and allied authorities that the Chinese government would request that TikTok or ByteDance turn over the personal data of TikTok users.Yintao Yu, a former ByteDance employee, has detailed specific allegations that the Chinese Communist Party had previously obtained mass user data from TikTok users for political objectives. The claim, which TikTok refutes, was made in May as a component of a California wrongful termination lawsuit.Wechat is far more popular among Chinese speakers than TikTok, which is one reason why governments around the world have not targeted it as much as they have in the previous year.
Using executive orders, US President Donald Trump attempted to outlaw Wechat and TikTok in August 2020. An injunction later prevented them from being used. The Trump-era executive measures were later overturned by President Joe Biden.