HUR: Threats related to Telegram are real and valid, and there are questions for platform itself
Andriy Yusov (Photo by Valentyna Polishchuk / LIGA.net)

The state is building communication with the administrations of all platforms, but this process is particularly challenging with the Telegram messenger, as shared by Andriy Yusov, a representative of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine (HUR), during an event at the Media Center Ukraine.

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Before Yusov spoke, Ihor Solovey, the head of the Center for Countering Disinformation, labeled Telegram as "absolute evil" in terms of cybersecurity because the messenger is an opaque platform with "unclear funding and unclear security protocols."

"One researcher of Telegram says: What evidence is there of Telegram's connection with Russia? The question is posed incorrectly because we should be asking: what evidence is there of the absence of Telegram's connection with Russia?" Solovey said.

He noted that all these factors surrounding the messenger would force Ukraine to "sooner or later, preferably sooner" make some decision regarding this and other platforms.

"As for Telegram, the threats are real and valid. It's not about individual users or specific media represented on this platform – the question is about the platform itself. It encompasses a range of threats to informational and not only informational security in our country. So yes, this is a question that needs to be addressed. And I think it will inevitably happen," Yusov stated.

A journalist asked how to win the war against platforms like TikTok and Telegram, which are used for propaganda against Ukraine.

"Of course, we would like to have simple answers to these questions and have some magic button that turns off everything that poses a threat. Unfortunately, there are no simple answers, and such a button does not exist. Thus, Ukraine is building communication with the administrations of all platforms to work according to transparent rules, and algorithms following both Ukrainian legislation and international standards," the HUR representative answered.

"The process is most challenging with Telegram, but there are also issues with other platforms."

Yusov said that this is a constant multi-level effort: "Both in terms of creating content on the platform itself that would debunk myths, clarify, and cover the target audience, and in terms of normalizing the activities of these platforms."

The military intelligence representative said that such measures are being taken, but there is "truly a lot of work" still to do.

A journalist from LIGA.net specifically asked Yusov about the particular threats the messenger poses to Ukraine. The HUR representative replied that he would limit his response to what he had already said today.

REFERENCE
Telegram was created by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, who left Russia in 2014 and now resides in the United Arab Emirates. For several years, the Russian government attempted to block the messenger. However, in 2020, Alexey Volin, Deputy Head of the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation, stated that Russian agencies had decided to stop blocking it: firstly, because it proved "technically impossible," and secondly, because representatives of Telegram began "actively cooperating in the fight against terrorism and drug addiction."

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