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In the future, members of the armed forces in Switzerland will only use the Swiss messaging app Threema. All other short message services, however, are no longer allowed - for security reasons. This means that photos, texts and voice messages with official matters by members of the army are no longer allowed to be sent via Whatsapp, Telegram or Signal.

The new regulation has been in force since the turn of the year. At the end of December, the army staff had instructed all commanders and chiefs of staff to use the Threema messenger app for business communication with business and private smartphones. The letter indicated that all other services were no longer permitted.

Threema is an app from Switzerland that guarantees end-to-end encrypted communication, only uses servers in Switzerland and does not collect any user data. From software development to support, everything takes place in Switzerland. According to Threema GmbH, the service is fully GDPR-compliant. GDPR is the basic data protection regulation of the European Union. Threema describes itself as digital, secure and ad-free. The user therefore does not leave any digital traces. Because unlike the US service Whatsapp, Threema has no personal information such as phone numbers or names. And with a Swiss solution, there is no risk of having to disclose data to a foreign government.

Threema is an open source app, so the code is also known. In addition, users can chat anonymously as no mobile phone number is required. Each user generates a random Threema ID when setting up the app. Linking with a mobile phone number or email address is optional. The app provider finances itself through a one-off payment of currently 3.99 euros. The service is thus financed for life and the user does not receive any advertising.

The advantage of this solution: Especially in the militia army, soldiers on and off duty remain communicatively connected via the app and can quickly exchange ideas. And since it is a civilian app, the user group is not limited to active soldiers. In this way, the army can also use the civilian knowledge of its members.

A similar regulation had been in place for Swiss federal employees since 2019. Only the Swiss Messenger was allowed to be used for confidential content.

Editor / lah