Given the fact that WhatsApp has a 400 million user base in India, it’s a huge loss to the tech-giant. With cybersecurity threats still looming across India, the Government of India decided to develop its own app.
Back in 2020, Government revealed its plans to build a WhatsApp-like application. However, as of now, only Government officials are using this app.
Whether this app will be available to the public, cannot be stated. According to reporters, the GIMS app, short for Government Instant Messaging System, is available on both iOS and Android platforms.
Moreover, Sandes, the name given to GIMS, actually named so as not to confuse it with existing applications like Sandesh.
Its users have three ways of accessing this app. Sign in – LDAP, sign in – OTP, and Sandes Web. On clicking any of the three options, the website reads, “This authentication method is applicable for authorized Government officials“. The government really did some serious work on it.
Its back-end data handled and maintained by NIC (National Informatics Center), which comes under the Ministry of Information and Technology.
Relevance of this system
This application has come at a time when WhatsApp users are looking for a reliable alternative. So this app really can develop into public usage application.
Moreover, given the fact that the government has launched Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, an ambitious project to prioritize indigenous Indian products and services over foreign ones, this app can be a game-changer.
But at the same time, NIC computers will have to cope up with the increasing amount of data coming from users, straight into their systems. That thing aside, this app really has potential, at least in India.
It can fetch far more users than the Signal app, a widely circulated privacy chat app that came into the limelight after the WhatsApp privacy issue. Provided with government backing, it’ll be a lot easier for NIC to develop it for public usage.
But with popularity comes a greater challenge. As mentioned above, NIC, a government agency, manages and stores its data. This alone can cause privacy speculations among media outlets.
As was the case with the Aarogya Setu app, with the public in general and opposition, in particular, questioning the government about how they’re handling their data.
The same could be the case with Sandes app as well. More so because it’ll be a private messaging app.
There is every possibility of the government spying on the public, even using the app to manipulate the election results.
The other areas of concern will also revolve around the security parameter. Like, for example, how reliable this app would be, how this app designed, what government agencies involved in this project, how many chances are there that it could be hacked, as such.
concerns Sandes app by government
So it would be hard for the government to cajole the worrying public and callous opposition. All in all, our assessment (at shutter apps) of Sandes app by the government in a sense is that this app is just fine. Reasons are:
- No future outside India: It’s a government-backed, government-based app. Meaning, foreigners will never release such apps in their countries because of security reasons. Although, India alone can become its huge fan.
- Privacy concerns inside India: As this app is a government-launched program, the general public and opposition have every right to protest against this app. They can rightly call out the intentions of the government by asking them about its data handling procedure and reliability of NIC. After all, any government in power can manipulate such huge public data.
- Primitive cybersecurity in India: Another reason it won’t be a great success is that there might be speculations about the app’s ability to withstand the hacking community across the world. A report about the data leaked earlier in April 2020 that personal data from several job sites such as naukri.com, hacked and sold on the infamous Dark Web. So, the developers have to mitigate such concerns regarding Sandes app.
When and how these can be resolved, it’s up to the developers. Moreover, not much known about this app, and what turn might government take for this app, no one knows.
Also read – Best private chat apps in 2021
As of now, users have to stick to the WhatApp till the near future. Or they can use other apps like Signal or Telegram. If this app does roll out, it’s gonna be a huge success, albeit with some prior concerns.
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So that was all about this new mysterious app. If you’ve any questions regarding this topic, feel to ask us down in the comment section.
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