Home LATEST NEWS HIGH TECH Data of the Ukrainian population on Telegram is safe, says its founder

Data of the Ukrainian population on Telegram is safe, says its founder

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Currently at the top of the most downloaded applications in Ukraine, according to The GuardianTelegram has become in recent days a communication tool to combat online propaganda.

You can create channels and groups of tens of thousands of Internet users. The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, uses it in particular to disclose his official messages.

Volodymyr Zelensky films himself in the streets of Kiev.

President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Ukrainian population virtually from the heart of Kiev, the scene of new Russian incursion attempts. The video was notably broadcast on Telegram.

Photo: Reuters/Instagram/ZELENSKIY_OFFICIAL

However, the fact that the co-founders of Telegram, the brothers Pavel and Nikolai Durov, are of Russian origin, added to fears for the protection of the data of its followers, raises questions among many.

Fears

Cybersecurity specialists have expressed reservations, among other things about the encryption of the application.

This is particularly the case of Moxie Marlinspike, which developed the encryption of Signal and WhatsApp, two competing encrypted messaging applications. On Twitter, he raised that Internet users mistakenly believe that Telegram is encrypted, but that a copy of each message sent and received is saved by default in a cloud computing database (clouds).

A close-up photo of a phone screen showing icons for various messaging apps, including Telegram.

Telegram was the fifth most downloaded mobile app in the world in 2021.

Photo: iStock

The platform replied that this data, which can indeed be consulted by the company, is still encrypted and secure. Telegram also clarified that some of its features are protected by end-to-end encryption (end-to-end encryption), so that it is impossible to extract the data from it. These include voice and video calls, as well as spoken conversations. secret.

A safe platform

In a publication on Telegram, the billionaire Pavel Durov, who now lives in Dubai, where the headquarters of the application is located, wanted to be reassuring by committing to respect the privacy of Internet users in Ukraine.

I defend our users no matter what. Their right to privacy is sacred, now more than ever. »

A quote from Pavel Durov

His message notably underlined his Ukrainian heritage, which comes to him from his mother, but also provided details on the context in which he left Russia.

In the early 2010s, Pavel Durov was the general director of the Russian social network VK, which he also founded. The Russian security agency FSB had him required [de fournir] the private data of users in Ukraine protesting against a pro-Russian president.

I refused to comply with these demands, as it would mean betrayal of our Ukrainian users. »

A quote from Pavel Durov

He would then have been fired by the company and should have left the country, according to his message.

Sanctions in Russia

In 2018, the Telegram application was also banned in Russia, for the same reasons: Pavel Durov had refused to hand over the data to the authorities. The ban, however, was revoked in 2021.

On March 4, however, Telegram followed in the footsteps of the social media giants by blocking Russian state-backed media from its platform in the European Union.

Russian-language channels that have flocked to Telegram, especially since the outbreak of war in late February, an analyst told the BBC, have seen their subscription numbers drop noticeably.

The idea of ​​completely disconnecting the channels from the countries involved in the conflict crossed the mind of the co-founder of Telegram, not wishing exacerbate conflict and incite hatred. However, he resigned himself to not going ahead, at the request of netizens, calling on them to double check and not to take at face value the information published there.

Telegram came in as the 5th most downloaded app globally in 2021, registering a jump of 75 million installs from the previous year, according to data from Apptopia.

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