The Dutch police can request telephone numbers from users from Telegram. This is evident from documents released by the National Police leadership after an appeal to the BNR Open Government Act.
Danger to life
The documents explain how the procedure works with which police officers can ‘urgently’ request IP addresses and telephone numbers from Telegram. This is only possible if there is an ‘immediate threat to life’. The documents date from December last year.
Last year, the German Bundeskriminalamt announced that personal data had been requested and obtained from Telegram. The federal police in Germany submitted around 230 requests for personal data to Telegram: in 25 cases, Telegram provided IP addresses and/or telephone numbers.
‘From police systems’
In April, the Dutch police took over a Telegram group through a user hack. In “Handelachterhoek” drugs, illegal fireworks, cigarettes and medicines were offered.
In November last year, questions arose in a court case about how it was possible that the police had access to a certain Telegram/telephone number. In an official report, an officer wrote that the information had been obtained ‘from police systems’.
That number may have come from Telegram itself. But that is not certain because this lawsuit concerned suspects who traded in illegal fireworks, so there was no danger to life here.
Much more than Signal or Proton, for example, there have always been critical voices surrounding Telegram in the tech community. Firstly, there is the criticism that Telegram communications are only end-to-end encrypted if this has been checked per contact (as secret chat). Secondly, the app sends a lot of metadata of conversations (which, if captured, can then be analyzed). In addition, Telegram records telephone numbers. Weaknesses have also been pointed out that could allow attackers to obtain telephone numbers of Telegram users. Even the encryption itself could contain vulnerabilities.