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Technology Trends

Social Media Apps for Government Networks

Shoghi The growing trend of people from all walks of life entering the social media networks is a global phenomenon. Applications like Facebook which started in colleges in USA suddenly found itself being used by students in UK colleges and led to a sudden push in their global strategy and within a few years have completely spread all over the world. Similarly Chat applications like Skype and What’s app have grown exponentially in the last decade triggering multi-billion dollar investments and acquisitions. Twitter is another social media application which has built a large following during this period. The commercial world has also adopted these applications in a big way for marketing and promoting their products to connect with potential customers who use these applications. The cheaper prices of laptops and internet connectivity from service providers initially drove this surge all over the world.

This has been closely followed from the availability of cheaper Internet connectivity in respective countries driven by the smartphones on the mobile networks and the growth of tablets.  The widespread usage of these applications by the young was expected but the old who have slowly adopted to these  high end mobile phones to remain in touch with their younger family members. Abuse of these networks has also grown with increased availability of personal information on these networks which has led to concerns of privacy. Hence it has become imperative that social networks provide secrecy to personal information available to them through the usage of these applications by their adherents.

Many government users have also adopted these networks for use as part of their social media interaction and also in many cases used them effectively for quicker communication with their counterparts who also could be found on this media. These informal networks constitute a large part of such government communications. But the dangers of passage of sensitive information on social media has always existed. Also most of these networks developed by US based companies has given rise to the belief of these being monitored which is now an accepted fact after the WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden expose.

It is therefore prudent for governments to use specialist social media applications with their own proprietary encryption for their secure communications which can provide text, voice and video services similar to any of the popular applications. The relative ease with which people have adopted them without any formal training will be applicable to this application also which should mimic these social media applications. This application  can be customized  in  terms of requirements of secrecy, privacy, language support and other facilities. This will require use of standard protocols and also should be such that can be securely setup within their own country and be connected to the Internet and also to specific Intranets to ensure all-time connectivity to the specific users cleared to use this application. Users can then be all over the world who will be then able to use this application without fear of being monitored. Also the application can provide connectivity on variety of devices whose information can be kept by the organization thereby ensuring necessary control of registered these devices of their specifc users.

Today governments have large number of departments or subordinate organizations which deal with industry, finance, power, technology, etc. who need greater security in their communications due to the sensitive nature of information they possess and need to share amongst themselves. The defense, police and intelligence organizations need for fast, reliable and secure communications has increased manifold to keep pace with current trends. Traditional voice and data communications networks available for government networks have also evolved to absorb new technologies and these can be compounded with the use of specific made-to-order social media and chat applications which can be used with the latest computers, tablets  and smartphones.

It would be only prudent for modern governments to get such applications developed with multiple options of low grade and high grade  encryption which can be based on sensitivity of information. This will provide options to use these applications for larger number of authorized users and also  derive the benefits of economies of scale by reducing the cost per user for deploying a solution for the entire country. The benefits of customization and user friendliness can be developed for the specific country where this is to be used will provide greater user satisfaction among the target users. The most important aspect which can be derived by the use of such an application  will be resultant increase in speed of work  and overall improvement in efficiency of the organizations part of the governments