Pavel Durov, founder and CEO of major encrypted messenger Telegram, argues that Apple’s cloud service iCloud is “now officially a surveillance tool.”
Citing a Jan. 21 Reuters report, Durov claimed that applications like WhatsApp — which rely on iCloud to store private messages — are “part of the problem.” Telegram CEO delivered his verdict in a post on his official Telegram channel on Jan. 21:
“iCloud is now officially a surveillance tool. Apps that are relying on it to store your private messages (such as WhatsApp) are part of the problem.”
Apple dropped its end-to-end encryption plans for iCloud two years ago
Specifically, Durov’s post refers to a report claiming that Apple dropped its long-running plans to allow iPhone users to fully encrypt backups of their devices in the iCloud. According to Reuters, the tech giant has given up its end-to-end encryption plans after the FBI complained that such a feature would harm investigators. Citing six anonymous sources familiar with the matter, the report notes that Apple had to drop its plans two years ago, but the issue has not been reported previously.
While Apple has reportedly shifted its focus to protecting some of the “most sensitive user information” like saved passwords, backed-up texts from iMessage, WhatsApp and other encrypted services remain available to Apple employees and authorities, Reuters wrote.
The news comes after President Donald Trump blasted Apple in a Jan. 14 tweet, arguing that the company “refuses to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements.”
Telegram has been resisting regulatory anti-privacy pressure
As Telegram positions itself as a global fighter for privacy, opposing major tech giants like Facebook and Google, Durov’s recent claims reinforce the company’s focus on ensuring “real privacy.” Launched in 2013, Telegram is a cloud-based messenger that aims to provide secure encryption, protecting users from third parties such as marketers, advertisers and officials.
Given its strong desire to provide the global community with tools to protect from the eyes of Big Brother, Telegram has already encountered some regulatory issues so far.
After Telegram refused to hand over the encryption keys to user accounts to the Russian authorities in 2018, the country’s major internet monitoring organisation Roskomnadzor declared that the app will be blocked “in the near future.” Despite subsequent multiple efforts to ban access to the messenger, Telegram was still operational at the time, and still remains accessible in the country to date.
Previously, Iranian authorities similarly tried to block Telegram amid nationwide protests after the firm refused to shut down some “peacefully protesting channels.” Despite multiple bans, some government agencies including state-run authorities were reportedly using Telegram as of April 2019.
3 Big Blockchain Firms Working Together On A DeFi Product That Pays Passive Income
In a special announcement made at the Unitize conference on July 6, Cosmos, Polkadot, and Terra revealed a new DeFi savings product called Anchor that aims to offer dependable interest rates on stablecoins deposits. The companies involved in the creation of Anchor plan to launch it across their respective blockchains at the end of Q3 this year and scale across to other PoS blockchains in the future. Do Kwon, founder and CEO of Terra, explained in a prepared statement:
“While DeFi staples such as Maker and Compound have been revolutionary in creating fully decentralized crypto money markets, the volatility of their interest rates makes them unsuitable to be used as a household savings product. DeFi mass adoption needs the creation of a fully decentralized savings account that offers dependable APR.”
Anchor’s smart contracts receive stablecoin deposits and use a portion of them to acquire staking positions on compatible Proof of Stake blockchains. Users will receive their passive income from these staking rewards. The initial governance for this platform will come from the Interchain Asset Association (IAA), a newly formed organization that sees Zaki Manian of Cosmos, Jack Platts of the Web3 Foundation, and Do Kwon of Terraform Labs collectively steering the ship.
Telegram Is Set To Shut Down The TON Testnet By August 2020
Although Telegram has terminated its blockchain project, Telegram Open Network (TON), in May 2020, the TON test net has been apparently running for almost one year. In a July 6 update, the official TON development group on Telegram announced that it would be discontinuing its support of the test network for TON. Remaining TON validators will be turned off by August 1. In the post, the TON official recommended network participants save all their relevant data and stop their testing processes. Despite the testnet being set to shut down less than a month from now, network participants will still be able to continue their experimentation after the testnet is terminated. In order to do that, users can install their own testnet validators, described in greater detail in three different how-to documents containing guidelines for the Full Node, the Validator, and Test Grams.
Telegram launched the TON testnet for explorer and node software on Sept. 6, 2019. In anticipation of its scheduled Oct. 31 launch last year, the company released an alpha version of an iOS wallet to work with its native token, the Gram. But Telegram’s TON plans were never fully realized, as the United States Securities and Exchange Commission suddenly deemed Telegram’s $1.7 billion ICO illegal in mid-October. After a long-running legal battle with U.S. regulators, Telegram agreed to shut down its TON project, as well as return $1.2 billion to investors in line with a court-approved final settlement. As officially announced by Telegram CEO Pavel Durov, the firm had already reimbursed more than $1.2 billion by June 25.
Brock Pierce Enters The 2020 US Presidential Race
Brock Pierce, entrepreneur, crypto venture capitalist, and child star, has announced his USA Presidential run on Twitter July 5. His tweet stated: “
“I, Brock Pierce, am running for President of the United States of America.”
Pierce’s campaign site states that he is a pioneer digital currency and has raised more than $5 billion for the companies he has founded. Pierce is the Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and co-founder of EOS Alliance, Block.one, Blockchain Capital, Tether, and Mastercoin (first ICO). His website, sparse on details, does not say if he is seeking a nomination in a political party or if he is running as an Independent.