Telegram, a popular instant messaging platform will provide support for group video calls next month, according to their founder Pavel Durov. The messaging platform has a history of use by activists, journalists, and privacy advocates due to its privacy features that protect them from tracking by abusive regimes (dependent on how they’re used). Telegram is a platform that offers optional end-to-end (E2E) encryption for direct messages, and conventional encryption for group chats.
Generally, even the most privacy conscious chat apps don’t offer end-to-end encryption for group calls due to technical challenges. Telegram’s announcement mentioned ‘encryption’ as a feature of group video calls, but when someone says ‘encryption’ it virtually always refers to back-doored encryption (which would enable the server administrators to listen to your calls). Apps that offer end-to-end encryption by default — for example: Signal and Session always tout it on their front page.
It’s important that people are aware of the difference, which is why most people end up not using the optional E2E in some apps. They don’t even know it’s there because it is usually buried and is just an excuse for providers to say that they offer it. Nonetheless, Telegram’s cross-platform support has been excellent across all devices. You can chat with your Telegram friends on a Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, or Mac OS device seamlessly. The features, quality of calls, and their history of protecting activists is reassuring.