When it comes to inter-office communications, there are a lot of enterprise apps out there but most still use the regular ones like WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram, etc. But while some of them are already encrypted, there are still huge risks especially when you deal with sensitive information, like with government agencies. The French government has now developed their own, in-house app called Tchap so authorized government employees can communicate through the app which boasts of end-to-end encryption.
The Tchap app is actually based on Riot, an open-source and secure instant messaging client-server package that is also self-hosting. ANSSI, the National Cybersecurity of France supervised the project which is led by the DINSIC (Interministerial Directorate of Digital and Information System and Communication of the State). This way, all informal communications between government agencies, employees and authorized non-government entities and civilians will flow through the app’s internal servers.
While some apps like Telegram actually have end-to-end encryption, since they are public services, they are still prone to hacking attacks and may also be under the surveillance of foreign intelligence agencies. By creating their own app with their own internal servers, they give their various agencies a more secure way of quick communication aside from the usual email threads or actual calls and in-person meetings.
Ironically however, a cyber security expert found a flaw in the app on the day it was released. Supposedly, only those working within the French government should be able to sign up for it. But if you added a government email domain on top of the regular email, you could still register on the app and you will be able to somewhat spy on the French government communications. But the company that created the app was able to fix it on the same day and a patch will be released to Tchap users soon.
Tchap itself is only for government employees but they did release an open-source code on GitHub so that other institutions who wish to adapt it for their own internal use will be able to base it on the app.