Since Tuesday, users have been able to decide in a large-scale survey on Telegram how much data the messenger app should pass on to the police in the future. There are three options available.

Telegram would like to know from its users in Germany how data should be passed on to the police authorities. There has been a poll on Telegram since Tuesday, which users can vote on.

We, the Telegram team, ask you to give us your opinion on how German Telegram users’ data can (or not) be shared with the German authorities, including the German Police (BKA).

What is the current status of Telegram?

Thanks to the current data protection declaration, which has been in effect since 2018, Telegram can disclose IP addresses and telephone numbers of terrorist suspects “at the request of the government”. However, these requests would have to be “supported by a court order”.

Telegram never shares information about your chats or contacts with anyone, including government agencies.

With this approach, Telegram only wants to prevent “terrorist groups” from abusing the platform.

These are the details of the Telegram survey

With the survey at Telegram, the messenger now wants to find out whether users in Germany “support the current data protection declaration”. Alternatively, they want to find out whether they “want to reduce or increase the number of cases in which Telegram can potentially share data with authorities”.

In the current Telegram survey, there are three options that users can choose from. You can vote until September 5th.

Option 1

No changes. Telegram is only allowed to pass on IP addresses and telephone numbers of terrorist suspects based on a court decision. This option is already included in Telegram’s current privacy policy.

Option 2

At the request of the German police authorities, Telegram is allowed to disclose IP addresses and phone numbers of suspects of serious crimes, even if this is not supported by a court decision. If approved, this option would be completely new for Telegram and therefore requires a change in our data protection declaration for users from Germany.

Option 3

Under no circumstances may Telegram share user information, including IP addresses and phone numbers of terrorist suspects. If this option is supported, Telegram will change its data structure and privacy policy for users from Germany.

Screenshot Telegram

What does Telegram want to achieve with this survey?

With its 700 million monthly active users worldwide (as of July 2022), Telegram is not just one of the most popular messaging apps. The platform is also a gathering place for dubious machinations.

Lateral thinkers used the platform extensively, especially during the Corona crisis. This led to Telegram having to block some groups and channels with conspiracy ideological content.

As reported, the option without data transfer would be similar to the approach of the messengers Threema and Signal.

Telegram would have to switch to end-to-end encryption by default, decouple the accounts from the phone numbers and collect less metadata.

Because if data is not available, it cannot be released on request by the authorities.

With Signal, for example, it can only be disclosed how long an account has existed and when it was last used.

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