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Telegram messenger service. Photo credit: Christian Wiediger

German authorities upping pressure on Telegram

The German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) wants to increase the pressure on the messenger service.

Published: January 17, 2022, 10:36 am

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    According to information from German daily Die Welt (Monday edition), representatives of the authorities have announced in the Bundestag’s internal affairs committee that the service will be flooded with requests for deletion or data in future. Although Telegram has hardly cooperated in this area so far, corresponding requests should be sent without exception to increase pressure.

    In response to an enquiry from the daily, the BKA stated its goal to achieve cooperation with Telegram in collaboration with the police authorities of the federal and state governments, the Epoch Times reported.

    Politicians and authorities are increasingly taking a confrontational course towards Telegram because, in their estimation, the service is used particularly often “by right-wing extremists and supporters of conspiracy myths”. According to the BKA, Telegram is not interested in “cooperating with the security authorities”.

    This announcement will impress Telegram founder Pavel Durov no doubt. What will the tech billionaire do, if not empty the spam folder? Russia already tried to block the encrypted messenger app Telegram on the grounds that “terrorists were using the service”. In reality it was probably more about unwelcome criticism of the government and censorship. And now the German government and the authorities have joined the ranks of the “authoritarian states” they condemn for suppressing opposition and freedom of expression.

    Infamous domestic spy chief Thomas Haldenwang revealed the following on the subject of Telegram: “Our virtual agents are on the move on the platforms. I am not allowed to tell you how many employees there are, but they are very successful. After the death threats against Saxony’s Prime Minister Kretschmer via the messenger service Telegram, it was possible to identify people, not least thanks to our activities. But I don’t want to give the impression that we have a complete overview of what is happening on Telegram.”

    Speaking of Kretschmer: On 2 December 2021, the old far-left Kretschmer was told off by by an FDP representative on Maybrit Illner’s ZDF talk show, because Kretschmer had used the platform to once again incite the public against Telegram and “extreme right-wing” groups. A few days later, remarks about “assassination plans” against Saxony’s head of government appeared on a Telegram group. Coincidences do exist.

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