Russian Federation bans use of messaging app Telegram

16 April, 2018, 18:17 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Alexander Scherbak  TASS

The ruling follows months of battles between Telegram and federal telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor.

On Friday, Moscow's Tagansky court blocked access to the cloud-based instant messaging service, Telegram, in Russian Federation over its failure to provide encryption keys to the Federal Security Service, the FSB.

The company is required by Russian law to provide encryption keys to let the Federal Security Service read the correspondence of suspected terrorists.

The media regulator sought to block the app because the firm had refused to hand over encryption keys used to scramble messages. The ban extends to the Telegram messenger, the Telegram app for smartphones, and Telegram's web client. Head of Roskomnadzor Aleksandr Zharov said in comments to Interfax that he expected the block to be implemented within a few hours.

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He also said that regardless of blocking, Telegram will retain the ability to send notices to all Russian users, informing them about the development of the situation.

Pavel Chikov, the lawyer who represented Telegram's interests during the court dispute with the authorities, wrote on Twitter on Monday morning that the Telegram.org website had become unavailable.

In July 2017, the FSB demanded that Telegram provide the keys to decrypt user messages citing its own administrative order, which established the procedure for providing the encryption keys. After the court verdict was announced, they said the planned to file an appeal.

Telegram founder Pavel Durov said the ban was anti-constitutional and vowed that he would continue to fight for the right to privacy of Russians. The messaging service offers end-to-end encryption, meaning that Telegram itself has no access to the content of messages.

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