Russian Federation hits popular Telegram messaging app with 'immediate' nationwide ban

15 Апреля, 2018, 00:55 | Author: Shannon Newton
  • Telegram messenger logo on a tablet screen

A Russian court has paved the way for the government to block the Telegram messaging app over its creators' failure to provide authorities with access to users' encrypted messages, it was widely reported on Friday.

On Friday, April 6, Roskomnadzor filed a lawsuit in the Tagansky District Court of Moscow with a request to restrict access to the territory of Russian Federation of Telegram.

This all started when KGB successor Federal Security Service (FSB) demanded access to Telegram's decryption keys previous year. We will remind, the Russian special services failed in court to prove that the activity of the Telegram carries a potential threat to the lives of Russians.

In July, Durov received the FSB requests to provide information for decoding messages of six app users.

The saga began with the proposal of Russia's so-called anti-terrorist bill in 2016, which allows agencies such as the notorious KGB successor, the Federal Security Service (FSB), to access encrypted messaging services. According to researcher Mediascope, Telegram enjoys more than 9.5 million users in Russian Federation alone.

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Telegram's lawyer, Pavel Chikov, has also described the move by the Russian authorities as "unconstitutional" - and claimed it "cannot be fulfilled technically and legally". The watchdog warned the service that it would take the matter to court unless the keys are provided within 15 days.

The Russian court's decision to block Telegram can hurt the company since it is a relatively popular app and can be accessed on mobile devices as well as desktops. Fewer researchers have a chance to test a new, custom-made protocol like Telegram's, which is only used in one app-though students at MIT have already found flaws (pdf) in Telegram's MTProto. Regional "access to Telegram messenger" is to be shut down, and the "technical conditions for the exchange of messages" are no longer to be provided. A Russian native, Durov now is based in Dubai.

Third-party VPN/Proxy-might be overloaded, which is likely to result in slow operation during the first hours after the block.

Telegram is especially popular among political activists of all stripes, and is also used by the Kremlin to communicate with journalists. "Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed".

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