July 23, 2017 01:15
There’s a weird rumor being spread in Iran about Telegram moving servers there. The idea of a privacy-oriented messaging app like Telegram moving its servers to a country with a history of Internet censorship is absurd and is hardly worth commenting on. However, it’s interesting to try to understand why such rumors appear in the first place. I can think of two reasons for that.

1. First, countries such as Iran or Russia usually try to pass laws ordering Internet companies to store private data on their territory. Sometimes officials in those countries make loud claims that turn out to be false (“Apple agreed to host private data of their users in our country”). It’s pretty obvious that Telegram can’t comply with any such demands due to our strict Privacy Policy. We won’t be able to put the privacy of our users at risk, even if rejecting such demands means getting blocked in some countries. We’d rather lose a big market (like we did in China) than compromise a single byte of private data of our users.

2. Second, some politicians and journalists discussing “servers” of a company in a country are confused about the terms and what they actually mean by “servers”. Along with a company’s servers that store private data in safe places, there also are internet providers that deliver its encrypted traffic to users, and third party caching nodes (CDNs) that make sure popular public content doesn’t go twice around the globe every time to reach its users. If Telegram servers store data, these third parties merely provide connectivity between Telegram servers and its users.

It seems that politicians / journalists sometimes refer to an internet traffic provider or a CDN provider that delivers or caches encrypted data of Telegram as “Telegram” or “Telegram servers“, thus misleading the public. There’s a world of difference between them: Telegram servers store private data and will never “travel” to countries with internet censorship, while internet providers and CDNs operate all over the world and have no access to private data of Telegram (and other secure apps).

All popular apps have to work with ISPs and CDNs in order to make sure users can get their traffic in a fast and reliable way, but unlike some of them, we at Telegram are always 100% transparent about how we encrypt and store data. That's why I will soon share more details about how exactly Telegram plans to work with third parties such as CDN providers to guarantee speed and security for our users all around the globe.

However, while we keep researching ways to improve connectivity and speed for our users globally, there’s one thing we will never do: we will never change the location of our servers or change our Privacy Policy due to restricting laws or threats from local officials. The only party Telegram can be held responsible to is our users, and only our users can dictate us their wishes and demands.
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