back to article Russia lifts restrictions on Telegram messenger app after it expresses ‘readiness’ to stop some nasties

Russia has lifted restrictions on secure messaging app Telegram after its developers agreed to block some content. Telegram proclaims that it has a “mission to provide the best security combined with ease of use. Everything on Telegram, including chats, groups, media, etc. is encrypted using a combination of 256-bit symmetric …

  1. JDPower

    In other words, don't ever use Telegram for secure messaging cos the minute a government agency comes knocking they'll immediately offer up some lube and bend over

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Not necessarily, no, though if you want secure messaging I'm not sure if Telegram is the way to go anway because, in contrast to say Signal, it stores account data on its servers.

      Telegram remains popular in Russia, even with Russian politicians, so this is probably some kind of compromise that allows both sides to get on. Spam, presumably including hate stuff, is not unknown in Telegram groups.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to rename it?

    To PutinGram.

    The erstwhile (sic) president for life is looking more and more like his hero Stalin every day. All my Russian friends are leaving as soon as they can.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC - Re: Time to rename it?

      You don't seem to know much about Stalin. And yet you claim you have Russian friends.

  3. Khaptain Silver badge

    Änd the legacy stuff ?

    I wonder if he now has access to previous messages or is it just the upcoming ones....

    Dear Telegram, I have the following proposition to offer you, a free vacation for you and your future generations to the Gulag of your choice or the encryption key ?

    Thanks

    Vlad the decryptor ( President of the United States of Russia and the World)

  4. iron Silver badge

    > Just what Telegram has promised to do in return for blocks being lifted has not been revealed.

    So everyone ditch Telegram then. It is no longer secure or trustworthy.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vlad the Decryptor.....

    ......Yeah!.....all that end-to-end encryption.....security......privacy......what could possibly go wrong?

    *

    Well....how about privately encrypted messages BEFORE the message enters the channel?

    *

    170G0f1M04$w05G40H660www0rjf0vux0Zxp0DsF

    0Kgl1Lxu10tY0z9q07lL0PlT09RR1VmT0YfC0EW9

    1Cod009h0bhS15Sz0tby1bLr1lUx0Xjv0BfA0xuL

    0R2H1HD21Gw717DU18f20L3C0KEQ1ckO0L3a1bS0

    1JLq0$Uv15jh0eQf0y0u0=pv0NxG0F=g04gg0SMo

    0jC$0wsX1cfR00GG1jBd1OqP0A5n0sH30=FP0$3H

    0hoL1CVn0J1l1c5M0$hh0JqB0qTL16ij0Sdp0DcZ

    1jdt0XYO1cKu0jXy0K7=0G1k18GW0MQL0XVL07do

    1gG30Yxp0=av02wB0Z6i16tl10wc1Imv0$xS0n64

    1PDV1iX01kBB19TK1K3104st0AVe0DO61ZI51IVx

    1Rnj1jdz0VNM0fAY05Ph08St141O1IvP1DM30Pne

    0STY125Q0=Js1deS0JsY0oG10Ho00dbp0hig1IDy

    1RA=0Kdr0=Vs0XoU12960fl00h3Q0tqI1jko1X7B

    0n0r0kv=0V=i0kl=1brL0VD10d6V1DwO1PmC1h=c

    11b70rN419Zp0y5y0X5z0jmT0MIR1SH01Sjx1gUL

    16iD0ONn0DWc1HS50fJN0FfD0Hyz1LSC0i030cN1

    02Wb0FdV10jl0hBx0eSy1NuV09oP06BV1bXt1OIf

    1H7a0zoF1ZkG02td1fMt0axf0kxh0noc09450Cxf

    1XkW0A7Y122N1Jzh0s4D1Ckf0kGI0gaK

    *

    1. tad atin

      Re: Vlad the Decryptor.....

      By using Pidgin with OTR plugin, for example.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC - Re: Vlad the Decryptor.....

      Nah, slurpers don't like that. As an example, sending encrypted text via Gmail makes Google cry. Is this what you want ?

  6. poohbear

    Sigh. There is more to this. As I understand it from other reports, Telegram is detecting bad stuff on their network and blocking it. They're not giving access to any governments (officially ... reality may be different). The Ruskies walked back because the could not stop all the workarounds that bypassed the ban.

    1. Tom Chiverton 1

      Source?

      who's definition of "bad"?

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Telegram's. It doesn't earn money from the app or platform, so Putin doesn't have much leverage over them. But that doesn't mean it thinks Bitcoin spam or extremists in the Caucuses are fine.

  7. nagyeger
    Facepalm

    Jasper Carrot?

    Was it just me?

    When I looked at that photo, I asked myself, what's an old picture of Jasper Carrot doing on a piece about Russia?

    1. JDPower
      Joke

      Re: Jasper Carrot?

      Um, have you been to an opticians lately?

  8. Adam 1

    Two Questions

    1. Who gets to define bad?

    2. If telegram is truly a secure E2E platform, how can they possibly determine the content of a message in order to cooperate with authorities?

    1. whitepines Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Two Questions

      2. If telegram is truly a secure E2E platform, how can they possibly determine the content of a message in order to cooperate with authorities?

      Because it isn't -- it's a proprietary, effectively closed source* app on a phone. That's about as far from secure as you can get. I am assuming that the open source desktop variants are not relevant here, for the sake of argument, since the vast majority of users are on some kind of cell phone and the open source version should be verifiable to actually do what it says on the tin regarding encryption.

      If they're not bothering to MITM the traffic directly, it's probably some proprietary local filter in the app detecting keywords. Where it gets interesting is what happens when that filter detects unsanctioned content -- does it send out a trace to the authorities and pretend to send encrypted? What exactly happens in that case?

      Other possibilities could be metadata checks -- better hope you're not within some degrees of a known bad apple, or you'll be tasting Putin's special polonium dessert...

      * If you can't compile the app yourself, it could have any special modifications required for the app store / local authorities, and you can't check it or fix it.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Two Questions

      If telegram is truly a secure E2E platform

      It isn't and shouldn't be considered as such, unless you setup a "secret chat", though even then it's only published details of the cryptograpic protocols used but no code. Otherwise Telegram stores details on its servers, which is one of the reasons why it's so good for multiple devices.

      Telegram has drawn Putin's ire because it has repeatedly refused to provide the details for specific users. And it has sucessfully found workarounds round most government attempts to block it, which is why it remains popular in Russia.

  9. JohnG Silver badge

    "All that crypto irked Russia..."

    Not just Russia. Before the Russians were irked, there had been talk of "Telegram being used by terrorists and criminals" in the UK and USA.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @JohnG - That doesn't count!

      We're way above Russia, aren't we ? We would never, ever do that to our citizens.

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