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Iraq Reverses Telegram Ban as Messaging App Cooperates with Authorities

Telegram ban lift by Iraq government after security compliance

Over the weekend, Iraq’s telecom ministry revoked the Telegram ban, which had been imposed due to security concerns. The ministry stated that the ban was lifted due to the company’s compliance with security authorities’ requirements. The authorities had demanded Telegram to disclose the sources behind the leaked data of officials and citizens, according to an official statement.

Telegram demonstrated its commitment to engage with authorities on security issues, asserting its alignment with freedom of expression. The ministry emphasized that the company takes measures to prevent users from sharing private data on the platform without consent told to reuters. Telegram clarified that it did not share any private user data with Iraqi authorities, confirming that while some channels sharing personal data were removed, no private user data was shared or requested.

In the previous week, Telegram ban Iraq had initially as numerous channels were exposing citizens’ private information like names, addresses, and family connections. At the time, the ministry had stated that Telegram, boasting over 800 million global users, failed to respond to their requests, leading to the ban.

Iraq’s internet censorship practices have garnered global criticism. In recent months, the country resorted to multiple internet shutdowns to prevent cheating in exams. Amnesty International highlighted concerns in July about draft laws that could potentially grant the government authority to penalize individuals criticizing the authorities.

The Telecom Ministry of Iraq reversed its decision to block Telegram on the weekend, only days after it had been banned due to security concerns. In a statement, the Ministry explained that it had taken this action in response to the company’s compliance with the security authorities’ demands, which included the disclosure of individuals who had leaked data about officials and citizens.

We do not stand against freedom of expression and communication,” the ministry said.

In response to the Iraq Telegram ban of its chat app, Telegram told the publication in a statement that they can confirm no private user data was requested or shared. Last week, Iraq stated that many channels were publishing private information, such as names, addresses, and family ties of citizens, and that Telegram didn’t respond to their requests. As a result, the country decided to ban the app, which has more than 800 million users globally.

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Organizations around the world have criticized Iraq for its internet censorship. In recent months, the country has shut down internet access multiple times in order to prevent cheating on exams. Last July, Amnesty International warned that Iraq’s draft laws could give the government the power to punish anyone who speaks out against the authorities.