The main argument by which the Telegram platform attracted so many fans is the guarantee of the privacy of conversations, the communications carried through encrypted connections in end-to-end system not being subject to the collection of information for advertising purposes and open to direct interception.
However, in reality, this is not the case, sources have suggested that the use of encryption technologies does not provide absolute protection, with Telegram administrators responding to requests for information about users received from certain governments. However, in the company’s defense, the same sources show that the requests received were chosen by eyebrows, very few being actually accepted.
However, the mere fact that such interceptions also occur in the Telegram network shows that the encryption technologies used are not as impenetrable as the platform administrators would like to convey. And if the system includes such a “gateway” that facilitates the collection of information, then who can say with certainty that only Telegram administrators hold its “key”? Highly motivated groups of hackers funded by world governments are at least theoretically likely to eventually successfully intercept Telegram communications, which could have devastating consequences for users in regions controlled by authoritarian regimes (persecution, imprisonment, or worse).
According to Der Spiegel, Telegram has granted several requests for information from the Federal Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Germany, assisting in investigations into terrorism and child abuse. However, other requests for assistance in other criminal investigations were denied.
Admittedly, the exceptions regarding the assistance of investigations into terrorism and child abuse are mentioned in the Telegram usage policies since 2018, the contradiction being rather with the marketing strategy of the platform. Coming as a confirmation of the consistency with which the platform’s administrators do not accept “dubious” requests for the provision of information about users, the Telegram service has been banned in Russia since 2018, after the Kremlin authorities invoked in the interception requests precisely the exceptions. mentioned above.