Kaspersky and WeChat have been banned from Canadian government devices due to security concerns, although both companies believe there are other motives at play.
This is not the first time that both apps have been banned on the North American continent, as they were also previously banned on US government devices.
Kaspersky, a well-known anti-virus software suite, and WeChat, an instant messaging service, are rumored to have connections to Russia and China respectively, hence the decision by yet another Western power to kick them out of official circles.
“An unacceptable risk to privacy and security”
In a statement from the Treasury Board of Canada, both applications pose “an unacceptable risk to privacy and security,” due to their potential ties to governments that may seek to jeopardize the security of Canada and its allies.
Both WeChat and Kaspersky responded to the ban by citing geopolitical tensions and ideology as the basis, rather than security concerns. Kaspersky issued a statement saying: “There has been no evidence or due process to otherwise justify these actions,” adding that the decision is merely “a response to the geopolitical climate rather than a comprehensive assessment of the integrity of Kaspersky’s products and services.”
Similarly, WeChat spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press conference: “We hope that the Canadian side will reject ideological bias, adhere to the principles of the market economy and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies. ”
In 2017, Kaspersky was banned for use on government devices in the US due to concerns about antivirus makers’ ties to Moscow. It has also been “confirmed as malicious” by the European Union and was banned for use within its infrastructure in 2018.
The Canadian Treasury Board further stated that “the decision to remove and block the WeChat and Kaspersky applications was made to ensure that the Canadian government’s networks and data remain safe and secure and in line with the approach to our international partners.”