Unique: Authorities Develops Its Personal WhatsApp, It is Being Examined Now
Amid the raging controversy over privateness on WhatsApp, the federal government is planning an entire new method – its personal model of the messaging app.
Sources within the Ministry of Electronics and Data and Expertise (MeITY) have confirmed to NDTV that two such apps are being examined of their beta stage. They’ve been codenamed Samvad and Sandes, actually “conversation” and “message”, respectively.
“These apps are being developed completely by the government of India. It is going to be an instant messaging app like WhatsApp,” stated a MeITY functionary. NDTV has learnt that the federal government additionally has plans for an app known as GIMS – Authorities Prompt Messaging Service – meant just for authorities of India workers to speak.
“A need was being felt within the government for a very long time to have our own, independent, and self-owned instant messaging service. Development of these apps began way before the present WhatsApp controversy,” stated the supply.
The most important benefit of this app might be that “we will never have to worry about data being stolen and used for commercial gains by big tech”.
Nonetheless, its acceptance amongst individuals could be gauged solely after a public roll-out – it is not clear nonetheless if each Samvad and Sandes or solely one in all them could have one. Sources say as soon as beta testing is over, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself is anticipated to dedicate the app to the nation.
Sandes is obtainable on Apple retailer for a number of individuals to check. It has a blue-and-white interface with the Ashok Chakra as its brand. It authorises and verifies solely authorities workers for now.
“It may entirely be possible that one of these apps shall remain for the internal consumption of government employees and not be rolled out for the public,” the supply stated.
WhatsApp got here beneath criticism just lately when it unilaterally modified its service and privateness coverage asking for knowledge to be shared with Fb, its mum or dad agency. Although it later put the plans on maintain amid the privateness debate, a sense remained inside the authorities that the easiest way ahead was to have one’s personal different. In the meantime, the Supreme Courtroom deemed it a fit case for intervention if individuals’s privateness was at stake.
The leak of WhatsApp chats in latest months, involving a number of distinguished individuals and well-known faces, too, has added to the general anxiousness over privateness and safety. All of the extra so for the reason that platform has more and more change into a useful device in enterprise ventures in any respect ranges.
The brand new apps, in the meantime, are being developed beneath the Digital India rubric by the Nationwide Informatics Centre (NIC). Functioning beneath MeITY, NIC gives the assist system for the supply of the federal government’s IT companies and Digital India initiatives.
Earlier this month, a Bengaluru-based startup launched Koo, a Twitter-like microblogging platform. Recognised as a star instance of the Centre’s Make In India initiative, Koo instantly drew key authorities officers and arms as customers. Inside 5 days of its launch, its person base soared by over 900,000. That occurred amid Twitter’s faceoff with the Indian authorities over free speech and native legal guidelines.
“These initiatives are all a part of the government’s Aatmanirbhar initiative,” a supply stated referring to Sandes.
The time line for the rollout of this app stays unclear.