The short message service Telegram is considered a safe alternative to WhatsApp and Co. – especially in terms of data protection, which makes it so popular even in darker corners of the Internet. Not long ago, the Dubai-based messenger left inquiries from the German Interior Ministry completely unanswered. This has now apparently changed, as research into the public YouTube format STRG_F has shown.

Telegram task force: Federal Criminal Police Office brings out the heavy artillery

The Federal Criminal Police Office is said to have sent 202 requests for inventory data to Telegram, of which 64 were answered and in 25 cases data was actually transmitted. Content was also deleted in 400 cases. The Federal Ministry of the Interior speaks of a few “highlighted individual cases” in relation to child abuse and terrorism, in which, among other things, IP addresses were received from users through Telegram.

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Telegram boasts that it has not shared any data

The fact that Telegram has complied with these requests is particularly piquant because the official FAQ paint a different picture. There it says clearly:

To date, we have shared 0 bytes of user data with third parties, including all governments.

Furthermore, the operators of the messenger service state that Telegram would use a branched infrastructure, so that chat data is stored in “several data centers around the world, which are controlled by different legal entities spread over several jurisdictions”. Keys and data are never stored in the same place, which is why multiple court orders from different countries are required to force Telegram to release data.

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This structure allows us to ensure that privacy and freedom of expression are not compromised by a single government or a group of like-minded countries. Only when different legal systems from several countries around the world make a decision on a particularly serious and globally recognized issue can Telegram release data and relinquish control over it.

Telegram recently asked its users whether data should be released

These revelations also shed a different light on the surprising survey recently conducted among Telegram users. In this, Telegram wanted to draw a mood picture of how users actually feel about the transfer of data. With more than 2.2 million votes, there is roughly a tie between those who support the release of IP addresses and phone numbers of terrorist suspects by court order and those who categorically oppose the release. However, the wording of the options was also sharply criticized.

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Telegram asks German users whether they should share data with authorities

What do you say about Telegram’s approach – do you understand that? Or would that be a reason for you not to continue using Messenger?