Why the @saman case is serious

Why the @saman case is serious


I recently was pointed to an article on why the @saman incident within the Telegram community was "bull****." The author of that post clearly has no indication of the severity of the issue. It is not a matter of Telegram following their own policy, but rather that the policy itself is dangerous.

Let's go through a hypothetical attack against @saman's users, friends, or those who simply want to view his channel:

Alice talks with @saman regularly. She and @saman have an established level of trust. Eve wants to attack Alice. Eve may be a random fraudster, Eve may be an abusive ex-partner. The goal of Eve does not matter here. Eve notices that @saman is available for the taking on other services.

@Eve claims those accounts, which the original @saman may not even have been eligible to claim depending on @saman's geographic region and thus defenseless, and then Eve sends Telegram a notice demanding the @saman account.

With the @saman account in hand, Eve executes here attack on Alice. In the case of an abusive ex-partner or similar goal, Eve is able to message Alice with this position of trust.

You can see how this is going to get bad very fast.

Telegram is the only major service provider with this policy; the only case that others will transfer ownership is in Trademark disputes, which would require an actual, registered brand name being used in the same industry as that brand, with the intention of causing customer confusion. This is not that case, and Telegram is, as they say themselves due to a lack of their legal team, not in a position to make that call. Period. If they want to make things easier due to a lack of a legal team, require a court order as trademark disputes have a very clear precedent set in law & social understanding.

In short Telegram, this is a dangerous policy regardless of its universal enforcement.