Until now, Telegram has always refused to hand over its users’ data. But now the turnaround: For the first time, the messenger has forwarded user data to the BKA. This is a first – and has a specific reason.
Telegram has over 500 million users worldwide. During the Corona pandemic in particular, the service achieved (dubious) fame, as more and more members of the “lateral thinkers” movement and right-wing extremists used the messenger. One of the reasons is that Telegram, unlike other platforms, does not delete false messages and much larger groups are possible than with WhatsApp, for example. In addition, Telegram claims not to pass on any user data and not to cooperate with authorities. According to Spiegel, however, the service has now forwarded user information to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).
Telegram passes on data to the BKA
The Russian company was founded by Pavel Durov back in 2013. According to its own information, the company is now based in Dubai, but there is no imprint on the Telegram site. Since then, the number of users has been growing steadily.
Until now, German investigators have had no way of obtaining information about Messenger users. In some exceptional cases, however, Telegram has now cooperated, according to “Spiegel,” specifically regarding the disclosure of user data that had been conspicuous in the areas of child abuse and terrorism.
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Ministry in exchange with messenger service
In fact, there have probably already been several exchanges between the German Interior Ministry and Telegram. Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser already said at the beginning of the year: “We have established contact with the top management of Telegram.” This contact has now apparently borne fruit.
We have established contact with the top management of #Telegram established. In an initial constructive discussion on further cooperation, we agreed to continue and intensify the exchange. This step is a good success on which we will build.
— Nancy Faeser (@NancyFaeser) February 4, 2022
Since then, according to Spiegel information, Telegram has set up, for example, a mail address specifically for the BKA, which investigators can contact with inquiries and tips about inappropriate content. Another indication of cooperation is the blocking of Attila Hildmann’s account. After the EU sanctions against Russia came into force, the Russia Today channel can also no longer be accessed via Telegram. However, experts continue to point to a problematic level of right-wing extremist content on the messenger, for example.