I noticed Telegram around the time Facebook3 aquired4 Whatsapp5 & PRISM6 was in the headlines. The USP of Telegram is that people can have secure conversations with device to device encryption enabled, so nobody gets a chance to snoop on your conversations. The other USP is that they have an open API. All this sounds awesome. Sadly, very few of my contacts moved to Telegram and I eventually deleted the app and forgot about it.
Fast forward a few months, I bought a new phone and re-installed Telegram. After the number verification was done, I was shocked to see all my old conversations appear in the app (except the secure ones).
@thinrhino Of course! All Telegram chats (except for secret chats) are stored securely on our servers and you can access them on all devices— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) October 23, 2014
Fine, no problem you store my conversations in a secure format. But, if data is stored, it is available for abuse. It is just a question of time, as to who gets motivated enough to break into your secure area to access those conversations.
@telegram essentially you have a very strong encryption on the transport layer, but data stored can be decrypted based on phone number.— Aditya Laghate (@thinrhino) October 23, 2014
Okay, now a hypothetical situation. I deactivate my cellular contract and move to a new number. The old number is recycled and assgined to some stanger. S/He signs up for Telegram and voila… all my old conversations are pushed onto his phone! There goes my privacy for a toss.
Second situation, my phone is lost / stolen. Since I use an android phone, I can do a remote wipe and all to remove my personal data from the phone. But again, if the theif manages to register for Telegram, before the SIM card gets deactivated, s/he has all my historical conversations presented on a plate.
I am not Edward Snowden or a person of interest that people might want to snoop onto my conversations, but I do value my privacy, and at the sametime don’t need encryption enbaled on all my conversations.
@thinrhino You delete the account if you are no longer using the number.— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) October 23, 2014
edit: Currently, most of my contacts and I use whatsapp for our day to day conversations. Like I mentioned earlier, I don’t need a secure line to chat, but I value my privacy. With Whatsapp, I know for sure, that my historical conversations won’t be handed on a plate to anybody who has access to a blank phone and my SIM card. I don’t know how secure the communication channel is, but that is fine with me.