Canada has taken a significant step in enhancing its cybersecurity measures by announcing an immediate ban on WeChat usage on government devices. WeChat, often referred to as the “everything app,” is a Chinese-owned platform that combines features similar to WhatsApp, Facebook, Amazon, and Tinder, making it immensely popular worldwide. However, concerns over its potential for espionage have led Western governments to take action.
Despite being one of the most widely used apps globally, particularly in China and Southeast Asia, as well as among Chinese diaspora communities, WeChat’s security implications have raised alarms in Canada. WeChat’s potential role in facilitating spying activities led the government to decide to ban the app.
Anita Anand, the president of Canada’s Treasury Board, clarified that there is currently no evidence to suggest that government information has been compromised through WeChat. Nonetheless, she emphasized the importance of a risk-based approach to cybersecurity. As a result, government mobile devices will no longer have access to WeChat or other similar applications.
In addition to the WeChat ban, Canada is also taking action against the Russia-based cybersecurity company, Kaspersky. As part of these measures, users will have the apps removed from their devices and will be blocked from downloading them in the future.
It’s important to highlight that while TikTok has garnered considerable attention due to potential security risks, numerous security experts argue that WeChat presents an even more significant concern. Despite this, WeChat has not received as much attention in North America compared to TikTok, as it is not as popular among government employees.
An injunction ultimately prevented former U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order from banning WeChat in 2020.
As of now, our agency has reached out to Tencent, the company that owns WeChat, for comment on the ban, but as of now, there has been no response from the company.