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 Bronze badge

    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 ?


    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 could possibly go wrong?

    * about privately encrypted messages BEFORE the message enters the channel?






















    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


      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

    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 Bronze badge

      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
      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

    "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.

  10. To Mars in Man Bras!
    Thumb Down

    One Man's Terrorist....

    I automatically dismiss as idiotic any statement made by a government or similar organisation which uses the word "Terrorist". It's completely meaningless. They might as well refer to "Goodies" and "Baddies"

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