Iraq blocks Telegram due to national security concerns

UPDATE (August 12, 2023): The telecoms ministry of Iraq announced that it will unblock Telegram as the popular messaging app “responded to the requirements of the security authorities that called on the company to disclose the entities that leaked citizens’ data.” The company also “expressed its full readiness to communicate with the relevant authorities…,” the statement added.

ORIGINAL STORY (AUGUST 7, 2023): The telecoms ministry of Iraq announced it had blocked the popular app Telegram due to national security concerns. The decision was announced on August 6. According to the ministry, the app does not handle users’ data well. It also claims that the block is to “preserve the integrity of users’ personal data”.

Telegram is an app used for messaging and also acts as a source of news and content sharing. Some channels contain personal data of citizens such as names, addresses and family relations of Iraqi citizens. 

The ministry claims that it asked the app to close down “platforms that leak the data of the official state institutions and the personal data of citizens… but the company did not respond and did not interact with any of these requests”. 

“The Ministry of Communications affirms its respect for citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and communication, without prejudice to the security of the state and its institutions,” the statement also mentioned. 

In its response to the ban, Telegram said that all user data on its app is safe and does not pose a risk to users. The company claims that no one else can access the data other than the involved parties. It called for its users to remain calm and that it will continue to talk with the government over how the services can be restored. 

“Please remain calm, all user data is very safe and we will do all we can to return our services. We are in talks with the government”. Telegram stated. 

In conclusion, Iraq blocked Telegram because they were concerned about personal data and national security issues. The government wants to protect people’s privacy and safety. But this ban also affects communication, freedom of expression, the digital economy, and other platform options. We’ll have to wait and see how this decision shapes Iraq’s digital world and if they find other ways to deal with the government’s worries.

Also, Telegram has encountered problems with other countries in the past. For instance, last year Germany fined Telegram for not complying with law

Written by Gizem Yılmaz


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