Telegram updated its privacy policies to comply with the European Union’s GDPR guidelines

Messaging platform Telegram has redesigned and updated its privacy policy. It wanted to include a clause in its policy that states that the company may hand over user’s IP address and phone number if it receives a court order. So, if court gives an order that suggests a person to be criminal or terror suspect, Telegram will hand over his/her IP address and phone number.

In addition, company said that such incident had never happened yet. And, if it does, it will reveal it in a semiannual transparency report. Now, Telegram feels it is in compliance with the European Union’s GDPR guidelines.

But, what does this mean for normal users?

Pavel Durov, founder of Telegram said that this will only make the platform less friendly to terrorists, who may use it to advertise or recruit people for bad cause. According to Amlan Mohanty, a technology lawyer based in India, this change would consider all cause for its concern. And, it could probably lead people down who aren’t terror or criminal suspects.

Mohanty believes the change in Telegram’s privacy policy seems to be a response to pressure on the company from Russia’s intelligence agency’s counter-terrorism arm. In Russia, the platform was banned back in April.

Durov stated that the change was made in order to comply with the European Union’s new privacy laws. But, these privacy rules only require firms to reveal to users what kind of data they are sharing with governments. It is not compulsory for firms to hand over IP addresses and phone numbers.

There’s a confusion regarding the term ‘terror suspect’. What does it mean in the country that is asking Telegram to hand over information of a user.

Obviously, a judge needs to sign off on a court order for Telegram to hand over data. But, the term ‘terror suspect’ could suggest someone actively engaging in the revolutionary activities opposing others in one country. And, in other it could completely opposite.

Mohanty added that it is clear Telegram is defending Russia’s strategy to pressure it into decrypting messages on its platform. But, further efforts seems to go sideways.

Verdict

According to a ZDNet report, Russian telecom regulator Roskomnadzor is ready to unblock Telegram for users in the country. But, it would only do so if the company agrees to provide them with the encryption keys. Those keys are used to keep the platform’s messages private.

For Telegram, there are two options if it wants to function in Russia. It will either need to compromise privacy for users, or redesign its system architecture to avoid providing backdoor access to messages to any government.

Ultimately, everything depends on Durov & Co.’s will to fight against Russia’s political and legal pressure. This could also create a standard for privacy controls on other countries and other platforms. So, let us hope that Telegram keeps fighting well for everyone’s privacy.

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