Canada bans WeChat, Kaspersky programs on authorities equipment

Canada bans WeChat, Kaspersky programs on authorities equipment
Illustration shows WeChat logo

A keyboard is put in front of a displayed WeChat emblem in this illustration taken February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration Purchase Licensing Rights

OTTAWA, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Canada on Monday banned Chinese messaging software WeChat and Russian antivirus program Kaspersky on govt-issued cellular gadgets owing to privateness and security hazards, but claimed authorities facts had not been compromised.

The ban was declared immediately after an assessment by Canada’s chief data officer that Tencent-owned (0700.HK) WeChat and apps created by Moscow-primarily based Kaspersky “existing an unacceptable stage of chance to privateness and protection,” the Treasury Board of Canada, which oversees public administration, stated in a assertion.

China’s foreign ministry mentioned the Canadian authorities had issued a ban on Chinese enterprises with no any authentic evidence, below the guise of maintaining data safety, which is a typical generalization of the concept of national security.

It said the ban abused nationwide energy and unreasonably suppresses the behavior of enterprises in particular international locations.

“We hope that the Canadian side will discard ideological prejudices, abide by the concepts of market place economic climate and supply a truthful, just and non-discriminatory company natural environment for Chinese enterprises,” said spokesperson Wang Wenbin at a normal press briefing on Tuesday.

Kaspersky explained it was amazed and unhappy, and that the determination was manufactured with no warning or an possibility for the agency to deal with the government’s fears.

“As there has been no proof or because of process to in any other case justify these steps, they are highly unsupported and a response to the geopolitical local weather rather than a detailed analysis of the integrity of Kaspersky’s items and expert services,” the firm explained in a assertion.

WeChat did not right away reply to a ask for for remark.

The Treasury Board explained it has no evidence that federal government info has been compromised, but the assortment solutions of the purposes provide considerable obtain to a device’s contents, and risks of utilizing them had been “clear.”

“The conclusion to clear away and block the WeChat and the Kaspersky apps was made to make sure that authorities of Canada networks and data keep on being protected and guarded and are in line with the approach of our intercontinental partners,” the statement explained.

The applications will be taken off from federal government-issued cell gadgets on Monday, and people will be blocked from downloading them in the potential.

Canada in February banned TikTok, the limited-video application owned by Chinese firm Bytedance, from government-issued equipment due to identical privateness and safety fears.

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa further reporting by Yuvraj Malik in Bengaluru and Liz Lee in Beijing editing by Grant McCool and Kim Coghill

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Have faith in Principles.

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