Russian court blocks Telegram over refusal to give up encryption keys

by Abel Hampton April 17, 2018, 13:50
Russian court blocks Telegram over refusal to give up encryption keys

Russian Federation began implementing a ban on popular instant messaging service Telegram in accordance with a court ruling after the app's administrators refused to provide encrypted messages to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB). "This information was sent to providers on Monday", Russia's communications watchdog said in a statement.

The service, set up by a Russian entrepreneur, has more than 200 million global users and is ranked as the world's ninth most popular mobile messaging app. Roskomnadzor had prayed the court to block Telegram from operating in Russian Federation, and that the ban should be immediate.

Telegram had refused a request by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) to give them access to users' encrypted messages. The Financial Times reports that the ban will likely take place once Telegram has exhausted the appeals process over the next month.

While Telegram seems to have agreed to comply with the part of the data law that required it to list its services in the regulator's register, it insisted that it would not share its confidential user data with local authorities. A Russian court has determined that security weighs heavier than liberty in a case that pitted social media giant Telegram against the Russian powers, which, Telegram, for now, has lost.

He further elaborated that the ban would not affect the terrorist threat in Russian Federation, as "extremists will keep using encrypted communication channels either in other messengers or via VPN". Other users resorted to using virtual private networks that disguise their Russian internet location to continue using Telegram. The Kremlin has used it for arranging conference calls with reporters.

In 2017 Presidential election campaign, the incumbent president Emmanuel Macron used Russian Federation based Telegram app that had been used by the government higher officials for communicating to each other.

The French government's encrypted app has been developed on the basis of free-to-use code found on the Internet and could be eventually made available to all citizens, the spokeswoman said.

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