Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

Telegram Change Protects Hong Kong Protesters from China but 200 Million Other Users are Affected (and That’s a Good Thing)

Telegram is a FREE multi-platform messaging service founded by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov. It rolled out for Android in Alpha on October 20, 2013, and now has an estimated 200 million monthly users on Android, iPhones/iPad, Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. It has a reputation as a privacy enhanced text messaging app to communicate with other Telegram users, create group (text) conversations, send files, and more. Many users believe Telegram is secure because it employs end-to-end encryption.

Unfortunately, Telegram historically hasn’t been all that secure. While the encryption apparently is unbreakable, the app also has long been known to “leak” identities in (unencrypted) plain text through a “bug” where users were unable to hide their phone numbers from security agencies. Now, according to Reuters, the creators of Telegram have fixed the leakage problem and will allow users “to cloak their telephone numbers” after all, “safeguarding protesters against monitoring by authorities.”

The change was made when it was discovered that Chinese authorities were using the leak to identify and then arrest Hong Kong citizens during the recent protests in that city. Hopefully, the fixed version of Telegram will allow users to exercise their free speech rights without fear of detection and arrest by a totalitarian government that will not tolerate dissent.

The updated version of Telegram will be rolling out to users around the world in the next few days.

You can read more in the Reuters web site at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hongkong-telegram-exclusive-idUSKCN1VK2NI.

Suggestion: If you use Telegram (for any purpose), you should update the software immediately and then again and again as new bugs are identified and resolved by the programmers. In fact, the same is true of almost any piece of software but especially true for those apps that protect your privacy, protect your bank account or investments, or for any other purpose that helps you maintain your privacy.

Categories: Online Privacy & Security

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