Russian Federation bans encrypted messaging app Telegram

Russian Federation bans encrypted messaging app Telegram

A Moscow court ordered telecommunications companies to block Telegram in Russian Federation after the chat app refused to grant intelligence authorities access to users' encrypted messages, in a blow to the company just weeks after it raised $1.7 billion from investors. The court's judge said the decision must be implemented immediately and the access ban would remain in force until the FSB's demands were met.

After the April 4 deadline passed and with Telegram still refusing to share its encryption keys, Roskomnadzor started legal action last week. This decision does not come out of the blue since the Russian authorities asked for the keys needed to decrypt the users' messages sent via Telegram on more than just one occasion.

The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) entered web.telegram.org and t.me, used by Telegram messenger, in the list of prohibited websites, as Meduza reported. In addition, Telegram representatives said that they considered the demand to provide the keys illegal.

Last June, Telegram and Russia's communications regulator Roskomnadzor seemingly found a common ground created to see the former continue to offer its services unhindered.

FSB, which is the main security agency in Russia has said that Telegram is the messenger of choice for Russian-based worldwide terrorist organizations.

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Over 200 million people around the world use Telegram, making it the ninth-most popular communications app. Telegram has been found guilty of failure to store and (or) furnish information on users and their messages to law enforcement agencies.

FSB's emphasis on getting access is because Telegram HS a terrorist problem due to the emphasis it places on user privacy.

Telegram's lawyer has dubbed the attempt to block the app "groundless", adding: "The FSB's requirements to provide access to private conversations of users are unconstitutional, baseless, which can not be fulfilled technically and legally". The messaging app was founded by the Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov and his brother Nikolai.

"The irony is that those in the Kremlin and government often use the service to communicate with journalists", a British journalist based in Russian Federation told i. Telegram lawyers skipped the hearing in protest.

As a result, the app was blocked for a few weeks by the Iranian government.

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