The creator of the messenger admitted that Telegram uses Google equipment, but only transmits voice messages at the request of users.
Telegram founder Pavel Durov denied claims that the messenger sends information about users to Google. He commented on the situation on his official channel.
According to Pavel Durov, Telegram rents equipment from Google for a new messenger feature that is used only by Premium subscribers: converting voice messages to text. The companies have entered into an agreement that Google can do nothing with anonymized audio data, except to prepare the text and send it to the user. In particular, it cannot use information for the benefit of its services or for targeted advertising.
“Telegram does not share personal user data with Google, such as names, phone numbers, IP addresses. In addition, Telegram never sends any data to third parties automatically, without an explicit request from users,” the creator of the messenger shared.
Pavel Durov explains that paid Google services are needed to get the highest quality transcription. Telegram could use its own equipment or turn to smaller companies, but then the messenger would be worse at recognizing speech in many languages.
“Traditionally, we go to additional costs for the sake of greater comfort for our users. Whether to trust Google’s guarantees and whether to use the function of translating voice messages into text is a choice that we leave to the discretion of each of the Telegram Premium subscribers,” he said.
Edition “Durov code” writes that Telegram does not hide the use of technologies provided by a third party – this is notified in the “Terms of Service” that each user accepts. In addition, the translation of voice into text is not carried out automatically, but only after pressing the appropriate button next to the message. Previously, users themselves turned to third-party services or bots to decrypt in text form.
According to the media, Telegram uses the GCP Cloud Speech API technology, which is implemented in the Cloud Speech-to-Text service. In “Data Registration Terms” of Google Cloud notedthat Google only records data transmitted with logging turned on, and then a limited number of employees can use it “for training and improving products and services.” In other words, the company’s algorithms should only use voice messages from Telegram to convert to text.
Previously, there was information that German authorities force Telegram to “leak” user data from February 2022. The Federal Criminal Police Office wants to use personal information from the messenger to investigate cases of child abuse and terrorism, and therefore is aggressively trying to persuade the company to cooperate. It is worth recalling that in 2018, Pavel Durov announced: Telegram can transfer IP addresses and phone numbers of users to law enforcement officers by court order, but according to official reports, this has never happened.
In March Pavel Durov said that he never gave out the data of Ukrainians at the request of the FSB. The founder of Telegram insisted on the security of the messenger and recalled his Ukrainian origin through his mother. According to Pavel Durov, in 2013 the FSB demanded the data of Ukrainian users from the VKontakte social network, but he, being the head, refused the Russian special service, which is why he lost his job.