Iraq lifted Telegram App ban after company addresses data leak concerns

The decision comes in response to the company behind Telegram meeting security authorities’ demands to disclose the sources responsible for the data leaks.

KHARKOV

Iraq’s telecoms ministry ended its ban on the Telegram messaging app this Sunday, implemented earlier in the week, due to concerns about security and the leakage of sensitive information from government entities and citizens. In Iraq, Telegram is not just a means of communication but also a platform for news dissemination and content sharing.

Certain channels on the app have contained substantial personal data, including names, addresses, and familial connections of Iraqi residents. The ministry’s decision to lift the ban stemmed from the company that owns Telegram complying with security authorities’ demands to reveal the sources responsible for the data leaks. The company has also expressed willingness to cooperate with relevant authorities.

Telegram’s press team noted in response to a Reuters inquiry that sharing private data without consent goes against their terms of service, and moderators consistently remove such content. The team confirmed the removal of channels with personal data but emphasized that Telegram had not been asked for private user data and had not shared any. In the previous week, the ministry stated that Telegram’s company hadn’t responded to their request to shut down platforms leaking official government and personal citizen data.

Why does it matter?

The decision to lift the ban on the Telegram app underscores the challenges governments face in balancing national security and upholding citizens’ rights to use digital communication tools. Nevertheless, it’s important to highlight that Iraq’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) indicated the app’s compliance with security authorities’ demands, whereas Telegram emphasized that they hadn’t received any requests for private user data and had not shared any such information. The sharing of information like this would be unprecedented, considering that in similar requests from countries like Russia and Brazil, Telegram has consistently refused to provide any data that could identify users.