The correspondence can be read by any passer-by, while geochats themselves are tightly tied to the country.
After the introduction of geotags in Telegram, users faced a number of difficulties that were not mentioned in the company’s post about the update. While some cannot start a chat, because the application sees them in a neighboring country, others are perplexed by the problem of the privacy of their own location. The experience of using the function on the first day gave rise to several questions.
Why is it impossible to create a geocate in another country?
The function is now strictly tied to the phone number. You can create your own chat only in the country to which the number is registered.
The Telegram team indicated that the rule may be mitigated in the future. But at the start it was decided to leave the requirements strict.
What should residents of border areas and Crimea do?
In some cases, to get an error message, it is not necessary to go abroad. Users with Ukrainian SIM-cards complain about the inability to create a chat in the Ukrainian city of Vladimir-Volyn. It is located 15 kilometers from the Polish border, and the application informs users that they are not in Ukraine.
The application also informs residents of Crimea with a SIM card of a Russian cellular operator that it cannot create a chat.
Screenshot from the chat Telegram Info
Chatting in border areas is not only a question for Europeans. In response to a complaint by a Canadian user, whose location Telegram determined in the United States, support promised to deal with its problem.
Tweet screenshot @ Mikej87_
Ah. You can't create one in Canada? Will double check.— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) 24 June 2019
How not to stay in plain sight?
Another issue is the privacy of location information. There were suggestions that if you use Telegram, regardless of whether geolocation is turned off or not, the creators of the application will know exactly where the user is. To do this, you just need to be close to another Telegram user whose geolocation is enabled. The application allegedly scans the Wi-Fi networks nearby, and determines where their owners are.
The update report also does not indicate how often the application requests user geolocation: only when chatting is near or all the time. Once logged in to the neighbors chat room at home, you can write to it from any location, but is there a location somewhere in this case?
For those who are unpleasant to be always in sight, the Telegram team has the answer: one user can find another only if both have opened the Add People Nearby tab. However, what data remains with Telegram is still not clear.
Other users can only see that you're nearby if you both have the specific "Add People Nearby" menu open. If you don't want users adding you, just don't open the menu. You can remain perfectly undercover, trench coat not required.— Telegram Messenger (@telegram) 24 June 2019
Partially, the question about privacy can be answered by the fact that Telegram was previously able to collect location data using the geotagging function. However, until now there was no reason to think that the authors of the application store user data in order to share it with someone. As Novaya Gazeta wrote , the same participants of “New Greatness” communicating in Telegram were detained after “embedded employees” appeared in the chat, and not after analyzing the data received from the creators of the application.
Is the geocat content closed to outsiders?
Про новые геочаты Телеграма могу сказать лишь то, что сразу поспорил с коллегами, что это адское палево, меня всей редакцией переубеждали, что всё норм, я из любопытства решил зайти посмотреть, что там — и первое, что увидел, это чат закрытого оборонного предприятия неподалёку.— Alexey Kovalev (@Alexey__Kovalev) 24 June 2019
The content of geocat can be read by any user nearby. To do this, do not even have to join it, just open it. This was reported by the journalist “Medusa” Alexei Kovalev. But the safety of information in chat rooms is a question for the users of the application, and not for its creators.