Signal vs. Telegram: Examining Pavel Durov’s Longstanding Claims


The world of encrypted messaging apps is witnessing a fiery clash between Signal and Telegram. This month, Telegram founder Pavel Durov reignited a longstanding feud, criticizing Signal’s security mechanisms. However, Durov’s past claims about Signal and Telegram’s own privacy limitations raise questions about the legitimacy of these criticisms.

A History of Disagreements:

This isn’t the first time Durov has taken aim at Signal. In 2017, he predicted a flaw (backdoor) in Signal’s protocol, a prediction that hasn’t materialized. Signal founder Moxie Marlinspike previously questioned whether Telegram should be considered a truly encrypted app due to its limitations. These repeated jabs suggest a deeper conflict between the two platforms.

Opportunistic Attack or Valid Concern?:

Durov’s recent criticism came just as Signal faced scrutiny for comments made by its foundation chair. This coincidence suggests his attack may be more about undermining a competitor than a genuine security concern.

Doubts Spark Controversy:

The controversy surrounding Signal was further fueled by comments from prominent figures like Tucker Carlson, who claimed the NSA accessed his encrypted Signal messages. This sparked a wave of doubt about Signal’s security, conveniently aligning with Durov’s accusations.

The Truth About Telegram’s Encryption:

While Durov claims Telegram is the only truly private option, this isn’t entirely accurate. Telegram lacks default end-to-end encryption for chats, leaving most users unprotected. This feature only applies to “Secret Chats” which require user initiation.

Beyond Signal and Telegram: Decentralized Options?

The author introduces Session, a decentralized messaging app offering a trustless model where code verification and network operation are distributed among users. However, decentralization comes with limitations, making complex encryption features like those in Signal’s protocol more challenging to implement.

The Trade-Off: Security vs. User Experience:

Ultimately, there’s a trade-off between security and user experience. Highly secure apps like Signal may be slightly less user-friendly, while user-friendly apps like Telegram might compromise on privacy by default.

**Conclusion: A Call for User Awareness **

The Signal vs. Telegram feud highlights the importance of user awareness. Users should understand the specific features and limitations of each app to make informed choices about their communication privacy needs. While Signal has faced some controversies, its open-source code and end-to-end encryption by default remain hallmarks of strong privacy practices.

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