The popular messenger app has transferred the data of its users to the German Federal Criminal Police Office.
Telegram handed over users’ personal details to the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) in a somewhat controversial turn of events. This move will receive criticism from privacy advocates as the company has long been voicing claims that it will protect user data from governments.
Data of Suspected Criminals Shared by Telegram
According to Germany’s leading news service, Der Spiegel, the company has shared data of suspected terrorists and child abusers. Furthermore, Telegram stated that German authorities would not get data of its users suspected of other crimes.
Nonetheless, the move in itself signifies that Telegram has softened its stance regarding data privacy because it didn’t respond positively to German investigators before, despite many requests from authorities, and never shared the identities of its users.
Telegram has revealed that its cloud chat data is stored worldwide in various data centers. Different legal entities across multiple jurisdictions control these centers. Furthermore, decryption keys are distributed into multiple parts, and the company never stores them in one place to protect the data.
Therefore, the company can only be forced to reveal or share user data if it receives several court orders issued by different jurisdictions. No single government or block of countries can force it to compromise user privacy and the right to freedom of expression.
It is worth noting that German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser stated in January that Berlin might shut down Telegram, and authorities were planning with the EU to regulate it.
In February this year, the authorities held talks with Telegram’s top management and reportedly had a “constructive discussion on further cooperation.” Later, Telegram blocked around 64 channels in Germany after receiving shut down requests from the BKA.