Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Russian court orders ban on Telegram app

Russian court orders ban on Telegram app

Moscow's Tagansky District Court on Friday granted the demand of Russia's state sensor Roskomnadzor to block the access to the Telegram messenger in Russian Federation due to its refusal to provide user data.

Durov went ahead to prevent Telegram's own lawyers from going for the court hearings.

In October 2017, a Moscow court charged 800,000 rubles or $13,000 on Telegram for refusing to meet the demand of FSB.

The ban comes after a protracted dispute between Telegram and Russian authorities, who insist they need access to the encryption keys to investigate serious crimes, including terrorist attacks.

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Russia's deputy communications minister, Alexei Volin, said VPNs and other ways of circumnavigating the ban meant Telegram users would not be greatly inconvenienced.

That the authorities had brought the case showed that "Telegram is by far the safest messenger", he said in comments published on the platform.

According to the FSB, Telegram was used extensively by "international terrorist organisations", and its encryption technology made it hard for the security agency to track their communications.

Telegram, which was developed by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, argues that Russia's FSB intelligence service is violating consumer rights, while authorities say the app has been used by violent extremists.

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"The issue of resuming access to Telegram's information resources will be considered if Telegram provides to the FSB information needed for decrypting user messages", Roskomnadzor said.

Durov wrote on Telegram that "privacy is not for sale", adding that "at Telegram, we have the luxury of not caring about revenue streams or ad sales". It claims that "Telegram is more secure than mass market messengers like WhatsApp and Line". Providers will block the app starting from April 16.

In Indonesia, Telegram was blocked for reasons similar to those cited by Russian Federation.

The NYT said the ban will put the Kremlin in a slightly awkward position, because many inside the government, including those in President Vladimir Putin's press office, use Telegram.

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However, Telegram is also popular among human rights activists for the same reason, as it allows them to communicate relatively securely to a large group of people.

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