In the midst of online security and privacy concerns, the Ministry of Information Technology has been hard at work developing a secure messaging app that the Prime Minister, cabinet members, and other high-ranking officials may use to communicate securely. According to reports, 60 percent of the development work on the app has been completed.
The country’s information technology ministry has completed 60% of the work on the encrypted messaging app, according to ARY News, and will deliver a status report to Prime Minister Imran Khan once it is finished.
According to ARY’s sources, the new messaging software would have security and encryption features similar to WhatsApp, but the interface will be different.
Pakistan declared in January that it would introduce its own WhatsApp-like messaging app, Smart Office, by June 2021, with all modern communication functions, as well as announcing that work on the Personal Data Protection Bill would be expedited.
The development of such an app is all the more important in light of the recent disclosure that Israeli virus Pegasus has been eavesdropping on a slew of prominent journalists and politicians, including Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Indian National Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Pegasus is capable of extracting texts, photos, and emails from the cellphones it infects, according to The Guardian, which is one of 17 media sources that investigated the software. It may also discreetly record calls and activate microphones to get even more information.