LONDON (Reuters) – The United Kingdom is set to review the use of WhatsApp, personal emails and other messaging apps by ministers and government officials after an investigation found “inadequate data security” during the Covid-19 pandemic, the British government’s data protection authority said. Monday.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said the review should examine “systemic risks” around the use of private messaging channels and ensure that improvements are made.
“I understand the value of instant communication that something like WhatsApp can bring, especially during a pandemic where authorities have had to make quick decisions and work to meet various demands.” said John Edwards, the UK’s Information Commissioner.
“However, the cost of using these methods, while not against the law, should not lead to a lack of transparency and insufficient data security,” he added.
The recommendation comes after a year-long investigation into the use of these messaging channels by government ministers and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) officials during the pandemic.
The ICO said the investigation found a “lack of clear controls” and the potential for “critical information to be lost or unsafely handled”.
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