Civil servants send data via WhatsApp without permission

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Employees at ministries and the High Councils of State exchange confidential information via WhatsApp and private email, while this is not permitted. This is evident from one investigation of the General Audit Chamber.

Uncertainty at ministries

Public officials and employees were questioned during the poll. The High Councils include the Senate and the House of Representatives.

A total of 7 percent of the respondents would exchange confidential information using WhatsApp. If it concerns less sensitive data, 60 percent of the civil servants use the chat app.

In addition, 16 percent use their own private email to send or receive secret information.

Senior civil servants and ministers would also not comply with the rules. They often turn to popular chat apps and less secure tablets and smartphones, because they are easier to use.

According to the Court of Auditors, employees do not know which applications they may or may not use. For example, an internal website of the national government states that WhatsApp may be used, while this is not allowed at ministries.

Government agencies often have strict rules for the use of certain commercial software. Because information passes through a company’s servers, it is difficult to guarantee that it is handled confidentially.

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