Here’s how safe Telegram is from governments:
Telegram is about as safe from governments as an internationally available communication platform can be.
Telegram uses multiple layers of digital security combined with strategic practices that make it virtually impossible for governments to forcibly take personal data from the Telegram servers.
No application is ever 100% secure, though.
So if you want to learn all about how safe Telegram is exactly from governments, then this article is for you.
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How Safe Is Telegram From Governments?
How safe is Telegram from governments?
It might be the safest messaging app that you can use.
That’s a subjective statement, but Telegram likes to brag about the fact that the company has never turned over a single byte of data to any third party.
This includes other tech companies, and it includes governments.
That’s a powerful statement.
Most tech giants turn over at least some data, especially when a formal legal request forces their hand.
The fact that Telegram is able to avoid this is abnormal and impressive, and it’s not a matter of luck.
I’m going to take you through the many layers of protection that exist at Telegram.
As we go through it together, you’ll see that unless Telegram redesigns its whole system, you don’t have to worry about governments getting their hands on your data.
It’s not something that can be forced.
What Makes Telegram So Safe From Governments? (7 Points)
I just made some pretty strong statements, so I better be able to back them up, right?
Telegram is protecting you in ways that won’t even make sense until you get deep into them.
For starters, all data on the platform is encrypted.
This means people can’t just spy on Telegram or steal your data, but that much is pretty common.
It turns out that this is only the very lowest level of protection offered by Telegram.
The platform expands safety by decentralizing its servers and spreading data across different countries and continents.
It also outright refuses to create user data that could be used against you.
On top of all of that, Telegram is committed to a financial policy that ensures it will never be incentivized to sell you out down the road.
Even if that changed, the entire system is structured in a way that prevents compromising data from being created in the first place.
Let’s go through these ideas in more detail to see just how powerful and effective they are.
At the heart of Telegram’s data protection is powerful encryption.
Every single message that goes through the platform is encrypted.
This means that if someone intercepted a message, they wouldn’t be able to read it.
Instead, they would get encrypted data that is impossible to read without a specific, unique key that makes it readable.
When you send a message, only you, Telegram, and the other user get access to that key.
Third parties cannot read your messages without Telegram’s help, and in a bit, I’ll show you why that isn’t something to worry about.
But, that’s not the end of the story.
Telegram also has a service called “secret chats.”
With this, your messages are even more protected.
This uses end-to-end encryption.
Rather than wade into the technical aspects, let’s keep this simple.
When you use a secret chat, even Telegram doesn’t get the encryption key.
Only you and the other user do.
So, even if Telegram wanted to spy on your secret chats, they can’t.
That ability was deliberately made impossible by Telegram’s technical structure.
#2 No User Data
So, third parties can’t read your messages.
That’s nice, but it’s not the limit of how Telegram could enable government spying or oversight.
This next part makes that largely impossible.
Telegram doesn’t generate and collect user data the same way that other tech companies do.
There aren’t a bunch of statistics created and tied to your name that are then used to target ads and inform other companies or governments about your activities.
Telegram is very much against that.
Instead, Telegram only stores information that makes the platform work.
So, yes, they keep your email address and account info on file.
That’s how messages are routed.
And, anything you store in the cloud, like cloud messages or contacts, is also on Telegram servers.
Outside of directly functional data like that, Telegram doesn’t keep a record, so there’s nothing to turn over to a government.
#3 Decentralized Servers
This right here is why Telegram has been so successful at keeping data out of the hands of governments.
Telegram uses a bunch of servers all over the world to encrypt and route your messages and communications on the platform.
No message or group of data is stored on a single server.
Instead, data is split and sent across the servers.
So, if a government demanded that Telegram release a group of cloud messages, it would require Telegram to retrieve data from many different servers.
Data from a single server can’t reconstruct a message.
Think of it like this. Imagine you have an expired credit card, so to prevent identity theft, you cut the card into pieces.
If you keep all of the pieces in a desk drawer, then someone could open the drawer, reassemble the card, and read the number.
But, if you mailed each individual piece to a different friend across the world, no one piece would matter.
You have to assemble a bunch of pieces for it to mean anything.
That’s how Telegram splits data across servers.
To read even a single message, you have to gain access to multiple servers.
This is more important than you’re probably realizing at this point.
You see, Telegram has deliberately placed servers in a bunch of different countries with conflicting data request procedures and oversight.
So, if one country demands to see information, they can really only control servers within their own borders.
Servers in other countries are under the jurisdiction of different laws.
By strategically placing servers in countries with different interests, Telegram has made it incredibly unlikely that the various countries will team up in order to reveal data under their care.
Telegram isn’t just using technological security features to protect your information. They’re using geopolitics too.
The technological aspects of how Telegram protects data are robust and powerful.
It’s safe to say that no one is going to force their way into cracking Telegram data. There are too many layers at play.
Now, this doesn’t mean your account is necessarily safe.
If you gave away your username and password, then anyone could see your messages, but that’s a different matter altogether.
On Telegram’s end, things are quite safe.
But, ultimately, Telegram is in control of the data on its servers.
If the company decided, it actually could give away your messages and data.
What’s stopping it?
The company philosophy.
Telegram has one of the clearest, strongest privacy protection policies in the business.
As long as the company stays with these principles, your data is very safe from governments.
#5 No Data-Based Ads
It starts here.
Telegram does not use data for targeted ads.
Instead, the company’s profit model is based on one-to-many communications.
Basically, you can do Twitter-like messages that go out to all of your followers.
This is where Telegram sells ad space.
So, user data isn’t needed.
These are just large audiences that ad companies want to target, kind of like billboards next to busy highways.
Telegram can keep protecting your data while making money.
It’s a way that the company incentivizes itself to stay on track and keep to its core philosophy.
#6 No Parent Companies
Probably more important is that Telegram isn’t owned by a parent company or conglomeration.
Any company can start off with good intentions.
If they sell to a parent company though, the original motivations don’t matter anymore.
The owning company is in charge.
Telegram is committed to preventing this.
More specifically, Telegram has largely been personally financed by the CEO, Pavel Durov. It’s a pet project.
He wants a messaging app that is beholden to no one.
As long as that holds true, Telegram is free to operate according to its own principles, and you don’t have to worry about a sudden and dramatic sale to a different parent company with a different philosophy.
#7 No Logs Generated
I’ve told you a few times now that Telegram doesn’t create or store user data.
Logs fall under that purview, but it’s worth mentioning them specifically.
Log files and anonymized user data can actually reveal a ton about users and what they’re up to.
Even if your name or profile isn’t attached to this kind of data, with enough analytics, things can trace back to you and inform how you use the internet.
This is how a lot of tech companies work.
They don’t just target ads at you.
They try to deeply understand every single move you make on the internet, and it can get creepy.
Telegram isn’t just keeping this data secret. It never creates the data in the first place.
This isn’t a matter of the people at Telegram remaining altruistic.
The platform fundamentally doesn’t function this way.
If the data is never created, it can’t be stolen or turned over to the government.
This is arguably the most protective aspect of using Telegram.