Something happened this week that rarely occurs, history offered up a side-by-side comparison with a control. Heads of respective social network and messaging platforms Facebook and Telegram were each brought before their home governments, the United States for Mark Zuckerberg, Russia for Pavel Durov. How the two men responded is telling, and should inform everyone concerned with privacy, especially cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
Facebook and Telegram Have Very Different Principles
Mike Butcher at Tech Crunch’s Disrupt back in 2015, put it to Pavel Durov of Telegram fame directly, “Does it concern you ISIS uses Telegram?” Mr. Durov looks away from his interviewer, Mr. Butcher, as if the answer is somewhere at the back of the room. “That’s a good question,” he says, considerately. Mr. Butcher asks pointedly, interrupting, “You sleep well at night knowing terrorists use your platform?” Mr. Durov again congratulates the line of questioning, and answers, “I think that privacy, ultimately, and our right for privacy, is more important than our fear of bad things happening like terrorism.”Mr. Durov’s post after a Russian court ruled Telegram be banned.
Such answers would be instant business suicide in the US, England, etc. Mr. Durov would be publicly attacked in the press, vilified by government minders. And yet here he is, in San Francisco, among the tech literati, talking the fundamental principle of cryptographic currency, privacy. Terrorism to the average person in the United States is a Pavlovian word, it rallies all manner of folks from varying backgrounds to support expansion of state power with few exceptions.Zuck has beef with Apple’s Cook, according to notes photographed at the hearings.