Do you suddenly need to stop using Telegram on your iPhone?
Barely two weeks after accusing WhatsApp of “lieFor 2 billion users, Telegram is facing serious new problems. The huge rival messenger has suddenly released a surprise update to millions of iPhone users – and this one looks like some really bad news.
It has been one of the most notable technology battles of 2021, and while it may not have celebrity status of Zuckerberg vs. Cook, the Telegram and WhatsApp show exchange blows on social networks is certainly a compelling vision.
The battle between the world’s major messaging platforms has never been more intense. Facebook dominates the space, along with WhatsApp and Messenger, but in the United States, iMessage is enjoying more market share, a source of real controversy for Facebook.
Meanwhile, rivals such as Telegram and Signal saw a tear of growth following WhatsApp’s backlash on privacy earlier this year. This backlash may now have been framed by the forced change of terms WhatsApp threatened to inflict 2 billion users before it did retrograde, but this started with the release of Apple’s privacy labels.
As you will no doubt remember, WhatsApp (and Facebook Messenger) is frowned upon when these privacy labels are compared across major platforms. There is too much data, in too many categories, and everything that is collected is tied to the identity of the users. Signal, Telegram, and iMessage look very different.
Given that Telegram has campaigned relentlessly against WhatsApp for privacy concerns, accusing its rival of cheating on users, it’s somewhat embarrassing that Telegram has suddenly updated its own privacy label. And now, it’s not that beautiful.
Where previously it collected basic contact information, contact lists and ID, it has now added purchase histories and financial information, specific locations and user content including emails and text messages, audio and media.
While the main caveat with privacy labels is that they represent the worst-case scenario – not all labels are collected for all users, this was clearly done reluctantly and, more importantly, all of that data. refer to users and their identity. And so, while Telegram is still clearly collected much less than WhatsApp, the differences between itself, Signal, and iMessage are now much more marked.
For its part, Telegram is clearly irritated with Apple, which is “rather unreasonable in their interpretations”, I was told. But data is data, and this is another example of messaging becoming multifaceted platforms, delivering finance and commerce, compromising basic messaging security and privacy to do so.
Telegram released a explicator on Apple’s privacy labels, ensuring that “we do not use your data to track you or show you advertisements; we do not use your data to help others follow you or show you advertisements; We only store the data Telegram needs to function as a secure, feature-rich messaging service, for as long as you need it. “
Regarding the specifics of the new labels, Telegram says purchases, financials, and location fields can be misleading or irrelevant, only coming into play when a user selects certain features or functions. The new critical area is “user content,” however, and this points to a security and privacy issue that sets Telegram apart from WhatsApp and Signal, its cloud service.
Telegram is not end-to-end encrypted by default, with a few exceptions, user data is stored on its cloud platform and can be technically accessible by staff. With Telegram, you trust their reputation and policies to keep your data private and secure, you don’t trust the integrity of their end-to-end encryption. It’s a huge difference.
“Telegram is a cloud service,” he says. “We store messages, photos, videos and documents from your chats in the cloud on our servers so you can access your data from any of your devices at any time without having to rely on third-party backups. All data is stored strongly encrypted and the encryption keys in each case are stored in several other data centers in different jurisdictions. This way, local engineers or physical intruders cannot access user data. “
This may ring fine, but it’s not end-to-end encryption. Simply put, your content is only encrypted between your device and Telegram’s cloud, and Telegram has the keys to decrypt it. There is no technical obstacle to doing so. It is very different from the security offered by others. make sure you understand this.
Is the updated privacy label a game-changer for Telegram iPhone users? No, not in itself. But it does highlight an issue that should be of concern to 500 million users.
More importantly, just two weeks after taunting WhatsApp about its change in terms, the timing of this update is a real issue for Telegram. While WhatsApp is particularly silent on the subject of Signal – which has also pushed its biggest rival over the privacy backlash, messaging giant Facebook has launched the attack on Telegram, to remind users of the security gaps. from Telegram.
I don’t like the idea of “secure” messengers capturing specific locations and linking them to user identities, let alone multiple ID fields. But Telegram is not a “secure” messenger, not really. And that’s the knot here.
Yes, you can continue to use Telegram on your iPhone, but don’t buy into its marketing. It’s not as secure as Signal, it’s not as secure as iMessage, and it’s not even as secure as WhatsApp. And so, leaving WhatsApp for Telegram for security or privacy reasons doesn’t make sense. Do not do that. Period.