What is Telegram app?
Telegram is an instant messaging app, just like Whatsapp. It was developed by the Telegram Messenger LLP, which is a private company based in London, UK. At the helm of it, there is a cloud-based platform which ensures your message is delivered in a fast but secure manner.
The app offers functionality which syncs your messages across all devices such as phones, tablets, and computers. The best part? The service is completely free of cost!
The reason for the shutdown
Not long ago, Russia also banned the Telegram app. Iran banned it the other day accusing the app of siding with anti-government forces. The app was operational until Monday, but on the directives of Tehran’s prosecutor, it was shut down for both mobile and desktop.
The restrictions were tightened so that it cannot be accessed through the use of any proxy service. Just like Russia, Iran houses a fan base of some 40 million users. It roughly translates into half the country’s population.
How did it garner such an impressive user base?
It is primarily due to the app’s standing as free from any form of government surveillance. There’s no official word from Telegram on the matter, yet.
Is there a workaround for the people in Iran?
A workaround may be in the works since it is impossible to accommodate a user base of over 40 million. Two Iranian IT experts have developed a modified version of the Telegram messenger app. The duo has labeled their app as Telegram DR where DR stands for “Digital Resistance”.
The app has Psiphon embedded into it which allows users to access the app without the use of a VPN. It is not a long-term solution, but Android users can download the app from Google Play Store. However, since the crackdown was swift, the modified app is buggy at the moment. An app may be in the development for iPhones as well, but no confirmation has been given in this regard.
Both Russia and Iran have cited national security as a reason for placing a ban on the Telegram app. Hence, the criticism and the resulting ban. Since the app promises to prevent prying eyes (including intelligence agencies) from taking a peek at your private messages which has even made the app impervious scrutiny by governments.
What does the future hold for Telegram? Only time will tell but for now, it stays banned in Russia and presently, Iran.