After all the outrage over WhatsApp snooping, employees of the Indian government will have their own messaging app, GIMS. It stands for Government Instant Messaging System and is currently under the testing mode, as per an Indian Express report.
GIMS is an app fully developed in India by the state-owned National Informatics Centre (NIC)’s Kerala unit. It has most of the features that WhatsApp has, can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices and offers end-to-encryption of messages as well.
What’s more, it will allow photos and videos to be transmitted within the messaging system as well. The only thing not clear as yet is if it will allow voice and video calls as WhatsApp allows to or not. That may not be critical since voice calls are in any way free within the country and the government employees may have other means of communications as well.
It has been reported that one of the first ones to adopt GIMS is the finance department in the state of Odisha. NIC has already tried the app among its own staff and the other organization currently trying the app out is the Indian Navy.
The government will tout this as a secure messaging app without worrying about the data being in the possession of a foreign company in their servers abroad. The data will be stored within the country and will be secure.
NIC will develop a dedicated GIMS portal for its regular administration and control. The app can be made available to the various government departments both at the centre and the states. For the record, iOS run devices on iOS 11 and above and Android devices running on Kit Kat version 4.4.4 and above can download the app on their devices.
It has been reported that following the reports of snooping by the Israeli firm Pegasus on WhatsApp, many government officials holding sensitive assignments had switched to Telegram and some to Signal, both messaging apps rivals to WhatsApp.