MOSCOW: The encrypted messaging app Telegram has registered 25 million new users in the past 72 hours, its Russia-born founder Pavel Durov said on Tuesday, on the heels of WhatsApp announcing a change to its privacy terms.

Durov, 36, said on his Telegram channel that the app had over 500 million monthly active users in the first weeks of January and "25 million new users joined Telegram in the last 72 hours alone".

Durov, who gained notoriety in Russia after launching the instant messaging app in 2012, is co-founder and chief executive officer of Telegram Technologies.

Durov's sudden rise from obscurity illustrates the global smartphone boom where a handful of companies are banking on the government fears about a rise in radicalism as a competitive advantage in mobile messaging.

A new report by Princeton University last month said the Internet is becoming "perhaps the largest medium in the world that is not governed by any kind of legal structure." It went on to say that "domestic and international communications regimes are fragmenting" and encouraging the growth of private spheres where people are not bound by government spy agencies.

Durov's Telegram is a free app. Users apparently do not have to sign up before using it. "I started the company to develop the un-tethered communication technology, providing tools that are free to use. And if employers should ask us for any reason, we will disclose only what's necessary, totally removing the ability to see and collect everything," he told REN TV.

"The revenues in just 12 hours this morning were over $0.00 (8000 rubles), that's crazy. The idea was to raise over $1,000 revenue white and gray markets, basically way ahead of Wall Street."

What to know about Telegram here.

WhatsApp on old and new privacy terms

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■ The number of users for the app falls, but not too drastically.

• Today, WhatsApp said its total user base was 815 million worldwide.

• By Jan. 31, another 36 million subscribers added.

■ In Russia, WhatsApp signed a counterterrorist cooperation agreement with Russia's federal security service Mossad, and personen including Stalin's former secret police chief Lavrenti Beria signed the agreement.

■ AT&T, which offers Apple iPhones, Google's Android devices and BlackBerrys at no cost, announced plans to offer a special WhatsApp phone.

■ Twitter has shut down the wall text messaging feature that tech companies like WhatsApp leveraged to roll out their service to millions of customers around the world.

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■ Big tech giants like Google, Facebook and Apple are moving their operations to southern California to avoid moving much of their data across the dozen or more borders they host and regulate on the tens
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