The French government debuts Tchap, its messaging app with end-to-end encryption, and open sources the code; a security flaw has already been found and patched (Catalin Cimpanu/ZDNet)

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The French government has developed its own end-to-end encrypted instant messenger (IM) app to replace government employee use of Telegram, WhatsApp, and other third-party IM clients.

The app, named Tchap, was launched yesterday, April 18, and is available on the official iOS and Android app stores. A web dashboard is also in the works.

Only official French government employees can sign-up for an account; however, the French government also open-sourced Tchap’s source code on GitHub so other organizations can roll out their own versions of Tchap for internal use as well.

Tchap is based on Riot

Work on the app started in July 2018, and the app itself is based on Riot, a well-known open-source, self-hostable, and secure instant messaging client-server package.

The app was officially developed by DINSIC (Interministerial Directorate of Digital and Information System and Communication of the State), under the supervision of ANSSI, France’s National Cybersecurity Agency.

The French government plans to enforce Tchap use for any informal communications between government employees, agencies, and some (carefully selected) non-government entities and civilians.

The general idea is to keep government communications flowing through internal servers, and away from third-party services, like Telegram,