Russian Federation to Block Telegram Over Encryption Battle

Alexander Scherbak  TASS

Alexander Scherbak TASS

The decision is effective immediately and will remain in force until Telegram developers provide the Russian Federal Security Service or FSB with an encryption key, she stated. In June 2017, the Russian media supervision agency, Roskomnadzor warned of an intention to ban the instant messaging app company which it has carried out this month.

On Friday, a Russian court ruled in favor of the Federal Security Service (FSB) that has claimed that the app enables criminals, terrorists and extremists by not offering backdoor access to the Kremlin. In Moscow, the Telegram app was still functioning as normal early on Monday afternoon. The Kremlin's press service told journalists on Monday that it will be switching to ICQ, a 1990s chat service now owned by billionaire Alisher Usmanov's Mail.ru, to communicate with them. "We consider the ban decision anti-constitutional and will continue to defend the right to secret correspondence for Russians".

The court ruling headed by Yuliya Smolina heeded to the application of the Russian Communications regulator Roskomnadzor to deny users access to the Telegram app citing failure to comply with local legislation. He also said that the agency would soon address the App Store and Google Play with official demands to make the downloading of Telegram's applications impossible in Russian Federation. Durov has long said he will reject any attempt by the country's security services to gain backdoor access to the app.

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Telegram is popular among blockchain and cryptocurrency advocates.

He also said that regardless of blocking, Telegram will retain the ability to send notices to all Russian users, informing them about the development of the situation. Russian Federation has acted to curb Internet freedoms as social media has become the main way to organise demonstrations.

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