Created in by brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov, the web- and app-based messenger gained notoriety almost immediately: Telegram was one of the earliest systems to support end-to-end encryption, and terrorist groups such as the Islamic State IS were quick to exploit that to communicate with their operatives. In fact, Telegram was the preferred IS platform for almost four years. But as the messaging app grew more popular among regular users, so did the number of cases where user privacy was violated.
They stole my privacy. They stole my body and [sense of] modesty. Nine years ago, Orit was diagnosed with cancer. The intensive treatments she underwent included chemotherapy, periodic bone marrow treatments, and biological therapy. Fighting for her life, one of the things that helped her reconnect with her body and heal emotionally and psychologically was a photo shoot of an intimate nature.
The treatments made we weak, I was very skinny, and my fragile mental state triggered an outbreak of psoriasis, which projected onto my exterior. I was in a very lonely and dejected place. My body image was low and it affected my whole self-image. Orit shared with her feelings with one of her close friends, a photographer who specializes in artistic nude photography. I was able to reconnect with my body and see my own beauty and femininity, even though I was scarred and emaciated.
It was my way of expressing myself and it was really healing. Orit has since gone into remission and has been maintaining her health for the past three years. The news came courtesy of an unfamiliar Facebook profile. To make matters worse, Orit discovered that the photos on Telegram include a link to her Facebook profile, as well as her contact information. This led to a series of harassments by male strangers, who texted her on Facebook making lewd suggestions and derogatory comments.
I tried to get as much detail as possible from the man who contacted me, but he said [the photos] were posted on a group called Images and Videos, and disappeared. It brought back a lot of memories and took me back to a dark time. I would be walking down the street with my little boy and if a man looks at me or even pauses just for a second, I get anxious that he might recognize me from the photos. Since that fateful day when her privacy was so grossly violated, Orit has been trying to keep herself busy with things that lift her spirits.
At first I was ashamed, but eventually I told him all about it. But anyone who knows me can still recognize me from the photos. In the age of social media and hackers, there are many who would argue that if a woman takes nude photos, she has to at least consider the possibility that something like this could happen.
Orit disagrees. As soon as she learned that her photos had been posted on Telegram, Orit contacted the company, reported the incident and demand the images be removed without delay. To date, over a month later, she has yet to hear back from anyone at Telegram. She filed a complaint at her local police station over violation of privacy and sexual harassment. What they all have in common is that they were all stunned to learn that they have been exposed in online sex groups. Some of the victimized women leveled harsh criticism at the police, who they said were not doing enough to fight this phenomenon.
They feel that they have been left to fend for themselves, which is why they are independently trying to get their images removed from Telegram groups.
She found that the photos were leaked by individuals affiliated with Telegrass. Telegrass was an anonymous online marijuana marketplace that at its height had , users. Everything there works with bots. Still, the photographer insists that he has no idea how these individuals could have gotten their hands on the photos. Illustration: iStock. The website of the Telegram messaging app is seen on a computer screen in Moscow, Russia.
The victims of the distribution of nude photos in Telegram groups include women of all ages and from all walks of life Illustration: Flash