Moscow court blocks use of Telegram messaging app

Latest news

    With 9.5 million users, Telegram is one of Russia’s most popular messaging apps [Dado Ruvic/Reuters]

    A Russian District Court has granted a request by the country’s media authority, Roskomnxdzor, to start blocking Telegram, the messaging application or app, because of its refusal to hand over encryption keys.

    The decision was made on Friday after a 40-minute hearing in Moscow, which was not attended by the company’s lawyers at the request of Telegram’s founder and chief executive, Pavel Durov.

    Durov later announced that encrypted messaging app would use built-in systems to circumnavigate the ban.

    However, he said on his page in the VK social network that he could not guarantee that users would retain access to Telegram without using virtual private networks (VPNs).

    Durov was referring to a technology used to get around restricted internet services and improve anonymity.

    The case was brought to court last year by the FSB, Russia internal security service.

    The FSB had requested Telegram, which has more than 200 million users worldwide, to hand over encryption keys, which would allow the authorities to read all messages sent using Telegram.

    Encryption technology

    According to the security agency, Telegram was used extensively by “international terrorist organisations”, and its encryption technology made it hard to follow their communications.

    However, Telegram refused to hand over these encryption keys, saying it would not compromise the privacy of all of its 200 million users around the world.

    WATCH: Iran unblocks Telegram messaging app as protests wane

    Judge Yulia Smolina said in her decision that the ban was to be implemented immediately, Russian press agency TASS reported.

    “The ban on access to information will be in force until the FSB’s demands are met on providing keys for decrypting user messages,” she said.

    In his reaction to Friday’s decision, Durov also implied the Russian government was motivated by money.

    “The power that local governments have over IT corporations is based on money. At any given moment, a government can crash their stocks by threatening to block revenue streams from its markets and thus force these companies to do strange things,” he said.

    “Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed.”

    With 9.5 million users, Telegram is one of Russia’s most popular messaging apps, and it is used extensively by both private citizens as well as the government, which uses it among other things to send out messages regarding conference calls for journalists.

    Iran and Indonesia

    The app has been subject to blocks before in other countries, most notably Iran and Indonesia.

    In Iran, Telegram was used extensively by protestesters during 2017 protests. The demonstrators used the app to plan and coordinate gatherings around the country to criticise the government.

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

    In Indonesia, Telegram was blocked because of reasons similar to those cited by Russia. The government had said app was used to spread “radical and terrorist propaganda”.

    That ban was lifted after Indonesia claimed to have taken steps to “block negative content”.

    Incidentally, Telegram has been one of the favourite methods of communication for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, using the app’s feature of open channels that can be followed by anyone using the app to spread ISIL propaganda.

    View the original article:

    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.

    In the same category are

    Argentina ex-President Kirchner hit with more corruption charges Kirchner is already facing a number of corruption charges over alleged abuse of power during her presidencies Argentina's former President Cristina...
    Is a Brexit deal possible? Brexit has been at the forefront of British politics since the country voted in a referendum for a divorce from the European Union in June 2016. It's ...
    Putin seeks to defuse Israel crisis after downing of Russian jet Israel confirmed its fighter jets targeted a Syrian military facility on Monday Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the downing of a Russian ...
    Camp David created Oslo, which killed the Palestinian struggle Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat shakes hands with Israeli PM Menachem Begin at Camp David, Maryland, in September 1978 During the secret Oslo neg...
    Ethiopia and Eritrea’s second rapprochement Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika with Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki after the signing of a peace agreement o...
    German spymaster ousted after far-right attacks row, but promoted Maassen, who had questioned the authenticity of video footage showing far-right hooligans hounding migrants, will become a senior official at the int...

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.