Jan-Lukas Else

Thoughts of an IT expert

FUD about Telegram

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It seems (not only) to me that Facebook is buying online articles to spread FUD about Telegram. Because Telegram does not use end-to-end encryption by default.

One example is this WIRED article.

On the one hand, it takes just a single (!) step more to start a secret chat (above the contact list is this option, which then displays a contact list again), and on the other hand, these articles often give the impression that messages are not encrypted at all.

“In terms of encryption, Telegram is just not as good as WhatsApp,” says Kobeissi. “The fact that encryption is not enabled by default already puts it way behind WhatsApp.”

Telegram messages are actually encrypted, just not end-to-end encrypted!

Furthermore, these articles suggest that people are switching from WhatsApp to other messengers because WhatsApp is not secure. However, many users simply don’t want their data to be misused by Facebook for advertising. It’s not about the security at all.

This is all then underlined by the fear that the Telegram founder is a Russian and that Telegram is currently based in the United Arab Emirates.

But first, the Telegram founder actually fled from Russia, fearing the authorities, and second, Telegram is based in the UAE precisely because there is less risk of them being pressured by authorities to hand over data.

He added that its “lean Dubai-based team is ready to move to a different location if it ever faces pressure.”

If you are really afraid that messages could fall into the wrong hands, you won’t be better off with Signal. Signal is based in the USA and could be forced by a secret service to install a backdoor. The argument that everything is open source is also no longer true, since the published source code is outdated and it is impossible to check whether the code on the servers is really the published code anyway.

In this case, a messenger like Briar is recommended.

Since all these discussions about (silo) messengers and which messenger is the best generally annoy me, I recommend Delta Chat. Delta Chat is basically just an email client, but it gives email a messenger interface and automatically ensures that messages are encrypted end-to-end.

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Jan-Lukas Else
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