Telegram agrees to disclose user data, com service welcomes step
MOSCOW, Aug 28 (PRIME) -- Telegram has updated its confidentiality policy to add a clause vesting the messenger, which is currently blocked in Russia, with an option to hand over to special services personal data of the citizens suspected of terrorism, the messenger said on Tuesday on its official website.
“If Telegram receives a court order confirming that you are suspected of terrorism, we can disclose your IP address and phone number to the relevant special services. There have been no such situations so far. If such a case takes place, corresponding information will be published in channel https://t.me/transparency in a report published every six months,” the messenger said.
A Moscow court blocked Telegram in April for its reluctance to share decoding keys with the Federal Security Service.
“Certainly, the communications service welcomes such a decision of the messenger’s administration because it’s been the first response from Telegram’s management after a lengthy silence to the requirements of the Russian anti-terrorism law and the law on organizers of information distribution,” communications service head Alexander Zharov told PRIME.
Deputy Director of the communications service Vadim Subbotin said the watchdog will lift blocking from the messenger only on request from the Federal Security Service.
“They should address the Federal Security Service of Russia rather than make public statements…If the Federal Security Service accepts the move or sees that the law of the Russian Federation is respected, their decision will be the ground to abandon muting,” Subbotin said.
Pavel Chikov, head of human rights group Agora, which acts on Telegram’s behalf in court, said that the changes of the messenger’s confidentiality policy are not the result of negotiations with the authorities because Telegram has been fighting against terrorism for a long time.