A photo illustration shows the logo of social media messaging application Telegram on a computer and on a mobile telephone screen, in Paris, France, 27 January 2021. EFE-EPA FILE/IAN LANGSDON

Iraq lifts blocking of Telegram

Baghdad, Aug 13 (EFE).- Iraqi authorities on Sunday lifted a week-long blocking of messaging app Telegram in the country, which it said it had imposed for reasons related to national security and the leaking of user data.

A photo illustration shows the logo of social media messaging application Telegram on a computer screen, in Paris, France, 27 January 2021. EFE-EPA FILE/IAN LANGSDON

A photo illustration shows the logo of social media messaging application Telegram on a computer screen, in Paris, France, 27 January 2021. EFE-EPA FILE/IAN LANGSDON

Telegram was unblocked “due to the response of the company that owns the application to the requirements of the security authorities by disclosing the leaked citizens’ data and showed its full readiness to communicate with the competent authorities and named official channels for it to communicate with Iraq,” according to a statement from the Ministry of Communications.

The ministry added that “it does not stand against freedom of expression, but rather stresses the importance of the commitment of companies that own social media applications to respect the country’s laws, security, and user data,” according to the statement cited by Iraqi News Agency.

Last Sunday, Iraq announced Telegram would be blocked after it accused the app of leaking personal data of citizens and state entities.

Baghdad has a history of interrupting the internet in the country, including when the government cut off access to various messaging applications in 2019 when massive protests against corruption, political sectarianism and public services began.

In July, Amnesty International denounced two draft bills submitted to parliament for approval, one on cybercrimes, under which the organization said “those posting online content that is deemed to undermine the vaguely defined ‘country’s supreme economic, political, military, or security interests’ could face a sentence of up to life imprisonment and a fine of up to 50 million Iraqi Dinars (around $38,000).” EFE

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