Telegram, the privacy-oriented messaging app, has released version 4.9 of its app for both Android and iOS devices bringing a major new feature: Telegram Passport. The team behind the app says this is phase two of its Telegram Login project, which was first introduced back in February.
With the new update, Telegram is expanding what users can do with the app by allowing them to log into services that require real-world identification. To do so, users will need to upload their ID to the Telegram's cloud storage, where it will be stored with end-to-end encryption so as to protect their privacy. Then, for services and websites that add support for Telegram Passport, users can simply select the required documents required for each service, rather than separately uploading them to each different app. ePayments, an online payment service, is one of the first to support the feature, and others can implement support for it by following the official guide.
The blog post also states that this is still in the early stages of implementation. In the future, the team plans to store users' documents in a decentralized cloud for further protection. Additionally, while users can only choose which documents to send to each app, for now, Telegram wants to implement third-party verification support for Passport. This means that rather than directly sending your ID to each service, Telegram will simply verify that your account is real and log you into supported apps.
Telegram has long touted its privacy focus and has continuously renewed its commitment to protecting its users' data, which has led to it being banned in a number of countries over time. With that being said, even trusting users might be somewhat skeptical of uploading such sensitive to the cloud, no matter how well protected it is. Nevertheless, if you're interested, you can download the latest official version of Telegram for Android here and for iOS here.