From the COLlive Inbox: Horrified by the censorship and watching tens of my friends leaving WhatsApp, I decided to try Telegram. What I was quick to discover is the danger ahead. Full Story
By A Reader
In recent days, I have become horrified by the big tech tyranny and censorship. I felt we must fight back against big tech. The news about the lack of privacy on WhatsApp also worried me.
Yes, it meant losing social networks but I felt that I have to do my part.
Watching tens of my friends also leaving and reading online how thousands, if not millions are leaving as well (many for other reasons) gave me the feeling that we do have a movement here and that big tech will feel a little pain.
And indeed Twitter’s stock fell 10%.
But where to go? Telegram or Signal?
I figured, I’ll try both and see where the groups go.
What I was quick to discover is, this is wrong!!! Emergency!!! Danger ahead!!!!
From a privacy perspective:
1) I receive a message every time any of my contacts join Telegram. Which means that the moment you join, Telegram will literally send a broadcast message about your joining to all your contacts on Telegram, without asking you.
2) The contacts are sorted by “Last Seen”.
This means you will pop up to the top of everyone’s list every time you open the app. Oh, and disabling this “feature” in your Privacy Settings only removes the exact time stamp, but still will say “just now” “a long time ago” etc. Why is that even a thing – do you decide who you want to text based on Last Seen?! This is a terrible breach of privacy.
Even while setting up Telegram:
1) They require you to enter at least a first name – why do they need to know that?
2) They repeatedly ask for permission to place and receive calls “in order to verify your phone number.”
I denied and denied until they finally resorted to just asking for permission to my Call Log, which I denied. Then they finally just sent me a regular SMS to verify my phone number – Was that so hard?! Couldn’t they have started with this privacy-friendly method?!
From a safety perspective:
The feature called “Nearby People” will reveal nearby users (including their profile pictures and their exact distance in feet to you) and nearby public group chats. The users and groups on this list are not from your contacts, they are ANYBODY and ANY group opted in to be discovered, where any stranger can post literally anything. Likewise, their “Channels” feature makes the worst content discoverable to anybody with one search.
This feature is unfiltered, and it is filled with shmutz of the lowest kind.
The status quo is much safer!
So I am back to WhatsApp and encourage everyone else to stay.
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