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A Russian lawmaker has said the use of WhatsApp should be banned for state employees as the Kremlin seeks to move away from Western technology during the Ukraine war.
Anton Gorelkin, deputy of Russia’s committee for information policy, wrote in a Telegram post that he didn’t advise anyone to trust messaging platform WhatsApp, owned by Meta, with their correspondence. Gorelkin said Meta worked closely with US security forces and warned that people’s conversations on WhatsApp could be interesting to them.
“I consider it necessary to introduce a direct ban on the use of WhatsApp for official purposes by Russian state and municipal employees,” Gorelkin wrote in the Telegram post.
Gorelkin said it didn’t matter whether the alternative app was owned by Russia or Dubai. The main thing, he said, was that the technology didn’t belong to a company that “openly participates in the information war against our country and is included in the list of terrorist and extremist organizations.”
Russia on October 11 added Meta, formerly known as Facebook, to its list of extremist and terrorist organizations, Interfax reported. This meant that all services provided by Meta, including WhatsApp and Instagram, were expected to be cut off in the country and Russians would lose access to these platforms, Insider previously reported.
It came after Russia’s tech regulator in March blocked access to Facebook, accusing the social-media platform of restricting user access to government-backed news outlets such as Russia Today.
Gorelkin wrote in Wednesday’s Telegram post he has received increasingly more messages from friends, telling him to stop using WhatsApp. The lawmaker added he only used WhatsApp for rare conversations with people who didn’t know how to operate other messenger apps.
WhatsApp says on its website it uses end-to-end encryption, a secure communication standard that only allows the people who are messaging to read their chat.
Meta didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment made outside of US operating hours.
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Russian lawmaker demands WhatsApp ban for state employees as Moscow moves to cut off Western technology – Business Insider Africa
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