Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Messaging app Telegram to block terror channels

Messaging app Telegram to block terror channels

In his Telegram channel, Durov made an official statement saying he regrets failing to provide a quick response to the Indonesian Communication and Information Technoligy Ministry's request to regulate contents of terrorism in the app's public channels. The ultimatum on Friday had a condition: if Telegram figured out a way to moderate content then it would stay unblocked, and so, Telegram has announced the creation of such a team.

Durov, who founded the app with his brother Nikolai in 2013, said: "A lot of Telegram's early adopters come from Indonesia", and now the messaging service has "several million users" in the country.

Infiltration, she said, was more "realistic and urgent" and the government should aim to identify and map out ISIS networks on Telegram.

Samuel Pangerapan, the director general of informatics applications at the ministry, said they are preparing for the complete closure of Telegram in Indonesia if it does not develop procedures to block unlawful content.

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The day after the app was officially banned, Indonesia's IT Minister Rudiantara aptly appeared at an anti-radicalism event at Universitas Padjajaran in Bandung, where he spoke of the possibility of all social media services meeting the same fate as Telegram in Indonesia should they fail to heed the government's request to filter out radical content.

The Berlin-based app uses two layers of encryption, and claims to be faster and more secure than other messaging services.

Telegram, which blocks thousands of ISIL-related channels a month, "always open to ideas on how to get better at this", Mr Durov said. It is believed the app has been used to coordinate several terrorist attacks, including in Indonesia, in the last few years.

But analyst with the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) Nava Nuraniyah said it will create more challenges.

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"If you look at the situation statistically and get rid of emotion for a second. the probability that you or me will die as a result of terrorism is nearly zero", Durov told CNN in a 2015 interview.

National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian told reporters on Sunday that Telegram is a favored application for terrorists and terror sympathizers, due largely to the app's heavily encrypted system that can accommodate up to 10,000 members in individual channels, making it hard for authorities to detect any terrorism-related messaging.

"But we're no friends of terrorists", he added.

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