About a week ago, the world was taken by storm when Russia announced its plans to potentially ban Telegram from the country. Privacy advocates were not too pleased with this decision and became rather vocal to make their voice be heard. The story has gotten another major plot twist, as Telegram founder Pavel Durov registered the company to ensure it operates within Russia’s legal framework.
Telegram Wants to Stick Around in Russia
Although the Russian government never got around to banning Telegram in the country, the communications company took matters into their own hands. More specifically, founder Pavel Durov went ahead and registered the company with the Russian government. That is a big surprise to a lot of people, even though it ensures Telegram can’t be banned in the country right now. Sometimes, one has to get in bed with the “enemy”, even though things are not looking as dire as some people may think.
More specifically, Telegram has no intention of turning over user data to the Russian government. That was one of the requirements by the government, otherwise, they would restrict access to the platform altogether. Now that the company is officially registered, however, that restriction will be nearly impossible to enforce. Telegram will protect user privacy first and foremost, and no government will change that.
Considering how Telegram serves over 100 million users globally, it is in their best interest to explore all small loopholes it can find to avoid seeing access restricted. Registering with the Russian government and submitting all of the required data – without breaching privacy – is the smart thing to do at this stage. Moreover, Telegram now officially operates within Russia’s legal framework. By the look of things, the company has successfully averted the crisis, for the time being.
In the eyes of the government applications such as Telegram allow terrorists to freely communicate with one another. Whether or not that is true, is anybody’s guess right now. Most people are well aware of how Telegram uses strong end-to-end encryption, which allows anonymous communication and guarantees consumer privacy at any given time.
Considering how encryption is a thorn in the side of virtually every government around the world, it was only a matter of time until they would become somewhat hostile toward communication service providers with strong encryption. Then again, countries such as Russia are not exactly known for allowing free speech. Attempting to shut down Telegram and similar services could also be a ploy to ensure the government can control what information people spread over the internet.
In the end, this step by Telegram is the right one. They will not store user data on a Russian server for a year and share that data with the authorities when requested. That situation will not change soon, which is a good thing. Consumers deserve to use privacy-oriented communication features, as neither the government nor anyone else has any business spying on their conversations. Telegram users can sleep on both ears knowing everything is still alright, for now.
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