Telegram’s Premium Service: A Double-Edged Sword for Privacy

Telegram Premium Service
Explore the pros and cons of Telegram's Premium service, including its extensive features and the privacy risks involved, to make an informed decision about your messaging app usage.

Telegram, a popular messaging app known for its emphasis on privacy and security, offers a premium subscription service that introduces a plethora of additional features for its users. While these features aim to enhance user experience and functionality, they also raise concerns regarding privacy and data security. Here’s a comprehensive look at what Telegram Premium offers and the privacy implications you should be aware of.

Key Highlights:

  • Telegram Premium enhances user experience with features like larger file uploads, faster downloads, and exclusive access to stickers, badges, and chat management tools.
  • The service costs approximately $4.99 per month, varying slightly based on your location.
  • Despite offering end-to-end encryption for secret chats and voice calls, most of Telegram’s chats do not utilize this level of security by default, potentially allowing the service to access chat data.
  • Telegram has faced criticism for its custom encryption protocol, MTProto, and for logging user IP addresses and metadata, which could be retained for up to 12 months.

Premium Features at a Glance:

Telegram Premium subscribers enjoy several benefits aimed at improving usability and offering a more personalized Telegram experience. These perks include:

  • An increased file upload limit of 4GB.
  • The ability to download files more quickly.
  • Expanded limits on channels, links, pinned chats, and GIFs.
  • Voice message transcriptions and the option for animated profile pictures.
  • No advertisements, alongside real-time chat translation and additional privacy settings​.

Privacy Concerns:

While Telegram Premium offers an enriched messaging experience, it’s crucial to consider the broader privacy implications associated with using the service. Notably, Telegram’s end-to-end (E2E) encryption isn’t enabled by default for all chats, setting it apart from other messaging services that offer blanket E2E encryption. This means that, outside of secret chats and voice calls, Telegram could potentially access user chat data.

How the Program Works

The “Peer-to-Peer Login” (P2PL) program is currently being tested by Telegram. In regions where SMS verification is expensive or blocked, it offers a potential workaround. Here’s how it works:

  1. Opt-in: Users choose to join the program.
  2. Relay: Telegram uses the participant’s phone number to send login codes to other Telegram users via SMS.
  3. Forwarding: The participant forwards the received code to the intended Telegram recipient.
  4. Premium reward: Upon forwarding a set number of codes, the participant receives a free Telegram Premium subscription.

Moreover, Telegram’s use of the MTProto protocol has been critiqued by security experts, adding another layer of concern regarding the platform’s encryption robustness. The platform’s data collection practices, including logging IP addresses and metadata for up to a year, further complicate its privacy stance. Reports of Telegram sharing user data with governments, despite official claims to the contrary, cast additional shadows over its privacy commitments​.

While Telegram’s Premium service offers attractive features that enhance user experience, potential subscribers should weigh these benefits against the privacy and security concerns highlighted. The lack of default end-to-end encryption for all communications, coupled with the app’s data collection and retention practices, presents a nuanced choice for users prioritizing privacy. As always, employing additional security measures, such as using a VPN, can help mitigate some of these concerns, but users should remain informed and cautious about their digital privacy.


About the author

Sovan Mandal

With a keen editorial eye and a passion for technology, Sovan plays a crucial role in shaping the content at PC-Tablet. His expertise ensures that every article meets the highest standards of quality, relevance, and accuracy, making him an indispensable member of our editorial team. Sovan’s dedication and attention to detail have greatly contributed to the consistency and excellence of our content, reinforcing our commitment to delivering the best to our readers.

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