Tele­gram de­nies Tehran’s claim it in­stalled servers

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Iran’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy min­is­ter was quoted yes­ter­day as say­ing the widely used Tele­gram mes­sen­ger ser­vice has trans­ferred some of its servers into the coun­try, but the en­crypted ap­pli­ca­tion’s founder swiftly de­nied the claim. The re­port from Iran’s semi-of­fi­cial ISNA news agency quoted Mah­moud Vaezi as say­ing: “As a re­sult of meet­ings with Tele­gram man­agers, some of its servers have been moved to the coun­try.”

But Tele­gram CEO Pavel Durov said that’s not so, re­it­er­at­ing the com­pany’s pre­vi­ous po­si­tion in a Twit­ter mes­sage to AP yes­ter­day. “No Tele­gram servers will be moved to Iran,” he wrote, while pro­vid­ing a link to an earlier post. Vaezi said Tele­gram planned to use third-party sys­tems known as con­tent de­liv­ery net­works, or CDNs, in Iran. But Durov said CDNs, which In­ter­net-based ser­vices like Tele­gram use to make data avail­able faster, “have noth­ing to do with re­lo­cat­ing Tele­gram servers or com­ply­ing with un­rea­son­able lo­cal laws”.

Durov later re­leased a state­ment say­ing the claim about servers in Iran was “prob­a­bly another piece of fake news or in­cor­rect trans­la­tion” and may have

re­ferred to a CDN node that his com­pany rents from an un­named network provider. He said the com­pany re­lies on CDNs in coun­tries in­clud­ing Tur­key, Iraq, Iran, In­dia, In­done­sia and Ar­gentina where it does not want to in­stall servers of its own. Those nodes are not able to de­ci­pher en­crypted mes­sages sent by Tele­gram, he said.

“CDNs only get en­crypted data and they never have the keys,” he wrote. “Even if they are ac­cessed by hack­ers or third par­ties, the at­tacker won’t be able to de­ci­pher the files.” Tele­gram al­lows users to send text mes­sages, pictures and video over the in­ter­net. The ser­vice touts it­self as be­ing highly en­crypted and al­lows users to set their mes­sages to “self-de­struct” af­ter a cer­tain pe­riod, mak­ing it a fa­vorite among ac­tivists and oth­ers con­cerned about their pri­vacy.

Iran has in­formed for­eign-based so­cial net­works that they must move their servers into the coun­try if they want to con­tinue op­er­a­tions in the coun­try. Iran blocks so­cial me­dia web­sites like Face­book and Twit­ter and cen­sors other web­sites. While top of­fi­cials have un­fet­tered ac­cess to so­cial me­dia, Iran’s youth and tech-savvy cit­i­zens use proxy servers or other work­arounds to by­pass the con­trols. — AP

An Omani man films waves crash­ing onto the rocky shore of the Al-Magh­seel site in south­ern Oman near Salalah yes­ter­day. The other­wise ex­tremely arid re­gion blooms dur­ing the mon­soon, known as ìkha­reefî in Ara­bic, which drenches the south­ern Ara­bian penin­sula with rainy clouds and drives stormy seas. — AP

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