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Tuesday January 18, 2022

Signal founder, WhatsApp CEO believe Telegram worst choice in terms of privacy

Moxie Marlinspike expresses astonishment that the messaging platform is still referred to as an encrypted messenger

By Web Desk
December 24, 2021
The Telegram logo. — AFP
The Telegram logo. — AFP

Signal founder Moxie Marlinspike has said that when it comes to privacy and data collection "there is no worse choice" than Telegram.

In a Twitter thread posted on Thursday, Marlinspike expressed astonishment that the messaging platform is still referred to as an encrypted messenger.

"Telegram has a lot of compelling features, but in terms of privacy and data collection, there is no worse choice," he said.

How Telegram 'actually works'

Marlinspike then proceeded to describe how Telegram "actually works".

He said that the platform stores a users' contacts, groups, media and every message they've ever sent or received in plaintext on their servers.

"The app on your phone is just a 'view' onto their servers, where the data actually lives," he explained.

"Almost everything you see in the app, Telegram also sees," he added.

'Simple test'

Marlinspike asked users to conduct a "simple test" to verify this theory. He said they should delete Telegram, install it on a brand new phone and register their number.

"You will immediately see all your conversation history, all of your contacts, all the media you've shared, all of your groups. How? It was all on their servers, in plaintext," he said.

Messages should only be visible to sender and recipient

Marlinspike noted that while some people may not consider it a big deal for the Telegram to have access to all of their data, messages, images, contacts, groups, etc., because they "trust Telegram", but the point of encrypted messengers is that you have to trust no one other than the person  you are communicating with.

"Actual privacy tech is not about trusting someone else with your data. It's about not having to. A message you send should only be visible to you and its recipient. A group's details should only be visible to the other members. Looking up your contacts should not reveal them to anyone else," he said.

Will Cathcart retweets thread

Marlinspike's views were seemingly endorsed by WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart who retweeted the thread.

Signal founder, WhatsApp CEO believe Telegram worst choice in terms of privacy