here is the digital panoply of the future President of the Republic

The new World is interested this Sunday, April 10, on the occasion of the first round of the presidential elections, in the multiple digital tools made available to the future head of state.

The first tool of the President of the Republic is the network: a network reserved for the government whose heart is in a bunker under the Invalides in Paris. His name? ISIS as “Secure Interdepartmental Intranet for Government Synergy”. ISIS makes it possible to exchange information up to the level of “confidential defense”, but it requires the use of special PCs. Their number would be several thousand, scattered over a few hundred official sites. A secure videoconferencing technology called HORUS is grafted onto this network: it connects the Elysée, Matignon and various crisis centers, in particular the Ministries of the Interior and Defense.

Second tool: messaging. And then it starts to get complicated. For three years, the French state has had its own equivalent of WhatsApp: Tchap, in homage to Claude Chappe, the inventor of the optical telegraph. A sovereign application with servers in France, a technology dominated, except at its launch. In April 2019, a hacker managed to create an account from a fake Elysée email address and infiltrate discussion groups.

Since then, Chap has been widely adopted, including in the police and gendarmerie. Several hundred thousand public officials use it. Chap has also been available to parliamentarians since May 2020. However, at the top of the state, this tricolor application that runs on smartphones, tablets and computers has not completely replaced WhatsApp, which belongs to Meta-Facebook or Telegram. , of Russian origin. Reflections of the old life are sometimes hard to miss, even on Elysium.

The president also has an ultra-secure telephone at his disposal: the famous TEOREM (“cryptographic telephone for state and military network”) commissioned from Thalès by the General Directorate of Armament (DGA) in the early 2000s, delivered from 2011 It is a folding phone whose appearance, very marked by the design of the 90s, plays against it, which does not prevent it from being appreciated in certain circles because it designates the most strategic people, and not only because it is sold for up to 4,500 € each.

TOREM is not a tremendously easy-to-use mobile: there is no application -installing them is impossible-, there is no directory. Each owner of a TEOREM can be contacted through a 5-digit number that the correspondents usually exchange by calling each other through a landline before continuing in secure mode.

For all these reasons, the president has long refused to equip himself with it. It must be said that a soldier in charge of his secure communications follows him permanently if necessary. The president also has a highly secure classic Android smartphone, but how he actually uses it is unclear.

Recent history shows, in any case, that it is very difficult to give up your personal phone when you arrive at the Elysée. The Pegasus scandal, named after this Israeli spyware, revealed that at least one of the president’s two personal iPhones was hacked, as were those of several ministers.

François Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac had also refused to part with their personal phone, however, a priority target for the big ears of the American NSA, as revealed the Guardian in 2013, but also Russians and Chinese. Among the 12 candidates for the 2022 presidential elections, all or almost all use public messengers in general such as WhatsApp or Telegram, whose confidentiality is still in question.

Leave a Comment