Telegram Lifts Ban On Ukrainian Chatbots That Collect Russian War Data

In a recent development, Dubai-based messaging app, Telegram, has resumed access to several chatbots employed by Ukrainian security agencies, following a brief suspension.

What Happened: The chatbots, instrumental in gathering data about Russia’s war activities, were temporarily blocked by Telegram. These bots, managed by the Ukrainian government, enable users to report the location of Russian military equipment and personnel within Ukraine.

The Ukrainian military intelligence agency, GUR, had stated that Telegram “unreasonably blocked a number of official bots that have opposed Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, including the (GUR) bot”.

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However, Reuters reported that by Monday morning, Ukraine’s Centre for Strategic Communication confirmed three affected bots, utilized by Ukraine’s SBU security service, GUR, and digital ministry for the war effort, were unblocked.

A representative from Telegram informed that the bots were “temporarily disabled due to a false positive but have since been reinstated,” without divulging further details.

Why It Matters: Telegram plays a pivotal role in information dissemination in Ukraine and Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy regularly posts his daily video addresses on the app, and the military uses it to alert Ukrainians of imminent airstrikes and document battlefield progress.

In April 2023, there were reports of leaks of confidential war documents on social media, including Telegram, bringing the app’s security measures under scrutiny. The incident sparked concerns about the safety of sensitive information shared on the platform, especially in the context of the ongoing war.

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Image by Ivan Radic via Flickr

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