Telegrams People Nearby function can reveal your place of residence

Telegram’s People Close feature is less privacy-friendly than users might think. It is possible to accurately determine your location and therefore your home address with the function.

Telegram People Close By

In Telegram you can share your location thanks to People Nearby. The function is actually intended to easily make contact with people from your environment via the app. You can then add and address people from your area, but without seeing their telephone number.

If you use the feature, you will share your location and automatically see others who do too. You can see how far Telegram users in your area are from you, but you will not be shown an exact location, which is to ensure user privacy. But that is precisely where the functionality fails, notes the privacy-conscious blogger ‘Ahmed’.

Determine accurate address

It is possible to find out the exact home address of Telegram users. According to the man, this can be done via a special device that manipulates your phone’s GPS (GPS spoofing), or by rooting your phone. An even easier method is to keep an eye on the changing distance of Telegram users and then walk in a triangle to determine the correct latitude and longitude. Finally, you can enter the coordinates of the user in a map tool and find out the exact address.

Ahmed has also reached out to Telegram’s security team to share his findings. An employee of the messaging service says in an email that it is “as expected” that malicious people can abuse this function. “Users in the People Near section consciously share their location and the feature is turned off by default. It is expected that it will be possible to determine the exact location under certain circumstances.” Finally, the employee says that the finding does not count as a bug and that Ahmed cannot receive a reward for his discovery.

If you are concerned about his or her privacy, it is better to disable the function in the app. You can find the option in the side menu of Telegram and via ‘Contacts’> ‘Find people nearby’. Do you share your location in Telegram? Let us know in the comments at the bottom of this article.

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