The Indian government is reportedly developing its own chat app platform same as WhatsApp. According to the reports, the app is currently under pilot test and is expected to roll out later this year.
The has especially been developed for Indian govt officials as an alternative to WhatsApp to obtain more privacy and security among govt employees. The chat app platform is named GIMS, which stands for Government Instant Messaging Service, which will be available only for govt officials to drive better confidentiality and security among conversations.
Here’s the Screenshot for GIMS official webpage by Indian government:
Recently, the Indian govt forced Facebook (WhatsApp) to change its end to end encryption policy in India and to deploy some technologies which allow lawful interception of the govt in the platforms. The govt asked the company to develop so regarding national security, which Facebook agreed to comply with the demands of the government without sharing the specifics.
Why would the Indian government do so?
The recent Pegasus snooping fiasco had a devastating impact on some govt key officials when this infamous software was used for snooping private chats. Now, the government with no option left had to ask private companies to allow interception for national security purpose, which Facebook indirectly don’t agree.
Now, to come up with a solution, the Indian government has been developing its own instant messaging platform that will board up the official communication relayed between government employees to attain higher security and privacy by eliminating breaches.
A report study by Financial Express
According to a report by Financial Express, GIMS will connect the employees and officials working at both central and state levels of the government. However, the state governments can exercise their discretion for the opt-in.
The report mentions that the pilot tests for GIMS are currently being conducted by MeitY, with a participation of 17 government organizations that include the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), MeitY, Indian Navy, and Indian Railways among others.
The state governments of Odisha and Gujarat are also taking part. The pilot program covers around 6,600 officials from different organizations, reported having exchanged about 20 lakh messages.
GIMS has been built using an open-source solution for both Android and iOS platforms, much like WhatsApp and other instant chat apps that are readily available for everyone. Similarly, the government’s service will support up to 11 local languages in addition to English and Hindi.
The rollout of the interface in other regional languages will follow the initial launch. The app will offer a unified messaging platform that is being built by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), the government agency that works under MeitY and is responsible for providing the IT infrastructure for the government.
Additionally, a former govt official who was previously dealing with Cybersecurity threats expressed his views saying – “It’s the right time for the Indian government to have its own instant messaging service as cybercriminals have been rapidly targeting such official communications.”