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For the past few years, we have heard a number of stories and debates regarding our digital privacy. Many big tech companies such as Apple, as well as social media companies like Facebook, claim that information transmitted through their devices and services is secure. And it probably is, but is that necessarily a good thing?

Following the San Bernardino, CA shooting in 2015, Apple refused to unlock the shooters’ iPhone, garnering praise from the general public and condemnation by law-enforcement. Now this issue has reemerged following the attacks in France.

CEO-Pavel-Durov

Pavel Durov, co-founder of Telegram

Telegram is the Russian counterpart to the US messaging service WhatsApp, created by Pavel Durov, who also founded the Russian version of Facebook. Durov left Russia after he refused to yield information about Ukrainian protesters to the Russian government in 2014, later starting Telegram. Telegram claims to be the most secure and highly encrypted messaging service in the world, which is definitely a selling point for its users. However, highly encrypted messaging is also a selling point for terrorists. It has been found that Telegram is a very popular tool among ISIS, and French officials are frustrated with failed attempts to retrieve terrorists’ private conversations from the servers. So effective is Telegram’s security that officials don’t even know where the servers are. French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve said, “They had done everything to make it a technological nightmare to find where their server is.”

This raises a few questions. Do we hijack our own safety by demanding that much privacy? Should such companies and services cooperate with law-enforcement? Should we lower our demand for privacy by not communicating sensitive information or providing too much information about ourselves online? We must consider these questions carefully, for by winning the war for personal privacy we may lose the war for national security.

 

For more information on the story please refer to: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/06/world/europe/telegram-isis-privacy-encryption.html?ref=world

 

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