Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Tech | By Tabitha Holland

Russian Federation to Restrict Access to Telegram

Russian Federation to Restrict Access to Telegram

The court tasked Russian media watchdog with "putting a stop to sending and receiving messages" in Telegram until the messenger fulfills its obligations by providing deciphering keys.

The Russian communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, told Telegram in mid-2017 that it had to hand over the keys to users' encrypted conversations. Since Telegram's founder, Pavel Durov, has recently stated that "Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed", it looks like Telegram Messenger users based in Russian Federation should find another similar service to use. The St Petersberg suicide bomber allegedly used the service to communicate with his accomplices. The data law in question required the chat app to list its services in Roskomnadzor's register and provide more information about its services.

The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) entered and, used by Telegram messenger, in the list of prohibited websites, as Meduza reported.

"Since the day we launched in August 2013 we haven't disclosed a single byte of our users' private data to third parties", a Telegram blog post insisted. Telegram CEO was furious after the brief court session. "What matters most is privacy which is not for sale and more to that human rights should not be compromised out of greed or fear".

Telegram is one of the fastest growing social messaging platforms in the world and it recently surpassed 200 million monthly active users.

Telegram was still available late Friday afternoon in Russian Federation, several hours after the court ruling. A request sent to the firm by the authorities to hand over the encryption keys by 4 of April was not honoured. Russia's FSB Federal Security service has argued it needs access to Telegram messages for safeguarding against acts of terrorism, among other things.

The Telegram messaging app is extensively by Russian Federation authorities, and is very widespread all through the Middle East.

Telegram did not respond to the request and was fined 800,000 rubles (£9,103), before it filed a case with the Russian Supreme Court claiming the FSB's order was invalid, which was subsequently overturned, according to news agency Tass.

Later Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram messenger responded to the ultimatum of Roskomnadzor to provide the keys within 15 days. The Financial Times reports that the ban will likely take place once Telegram has appealed over the next month.

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