Canada bans Chinese app WeChat from government devices

Kathmandu: Canada has announced it will ban WeChat on government devices.

The Chinese-owned app is sometimes referred to as the “everything app” – like WhatsApp, Facebook, Amazon and Tinder all in one.

However Western governments have security concerns about it, mainly that the app could be used to spy on users.

The BBC has reached out to Tencent, the company that owns WeChat, for comment but has not yet received a response.

WeChat is one of the most used apps in the world. It is ubiquitous in China and also popular in Southeast Asia and within Chinese diaspora communities.

Canada’s ban is effective immediately.

Still, there is no evidence that government information has been compromised through WeChat, the president of Canada’s Treasury Board, Anita Anand, said in a statement.

“We are taking a risk-based approach to cyber security by removing access to these applications on government mobile devices,” she said.

Canada is also taking action on Russia-based Kaspersky, a cyber-security company.

Users will have the apps removed, and be blocked from downloading them in the future.

Even though TikTok has received much attention for potential security risks, many security experts believe WeChat poses a greater threat. It receives less focus because it is not used as much as TikTok by government employees in North America.

Former US president Donald Trump tried to ban the app in 2020 by executive order but it was blocked by an injunction.

News Source: BBC