Telegram's peer-to-peer login system is a risky way to save $5 per month

Telegram advance A new way to earn a premium subscription Free: All you have to do is volunteer your phone number to send one-time passwords (OTP) to other users. In fact, this sounds like a terrible idea — especially for a messaging service that relies on privacy.

X user @AssembleDebug Spotted details About the new program on the English version of the popular Russian language Information channel on Telegram. Sure, there is Section in Telegram's Terms of Service Outlines of the new “Peer-to-Peer Login” or P2PL program, which is currently only offered on Android and in certain (unspecified) locations. By signing up for the program, you agree to allow Telegram to use your phone number to send up to 150 text messages using OTPs to other users who are logged into their accounts. Each month, your number is used to send a minimum number of one-time passwords (OTP), and you will receive a gift code for a one-month premium subscription.

This seems like a bad idea, starting with the main problem: The recipient sees your phone number every time it's used to send a one-time password (OTP). And if anything untoward happens as a result, Telegram's terms make it clear that it's on You:

Accordingly, you understand and agree that Telegram will not be liable for any inconvenience, inconvenience or damage resulting from unwanted, unauthorized or illegal actions of users who become aware of your phone number through P2PL.

Once the OTP is sent from your number, the recipient may respond by sending you a text message. People participating in the P2PL program are asked not to send text messages to recipients of OTPs, even if they send text messages first — But there's no way for Telegram to enforce this, and no way to prevent people from replying to an OTP text. This seems like a particularly bad place to use the honor system.

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Telegram says it is offering this software to make receiving access codes via SMS more reliable in certain regions. A more pessimistic reading might be that the company is trying to avoid fees charged for sending codes via SMS – a move from the X/Twitter playbook. In fact, Telegram does not bear any responsibility if your carrier charges you for sending access codes.

All of this is somewhat uncharacteristic of a company that promotes “Revolutionary privacy policy“Telegram’s global user base has been drawn to the platform as an algorithm-free way to distribute information, both for good and for harm. We have reached out to Telegram for comment on this new program and will update this post if we receive a response.

Overall, it seems like too much of a risk just to save $5 a month. Our free advice? Stay away from this show if you see it.

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