Russia's telecom watchdog files lawsuit to block Telegram messaging app

by Abel Hampton April 7, 2018, 1:23
Russia's telecom watchdog files lawsuit to block Telegram messaging app

Russia's state media regulator has asked a court to block the messaging app Telegram following the company's refusal to give the Federal Security Service (FSB) access to users' messaging data.

In its court filing, Roskomnadzor said the legal action was related to the FSB request and Telegram's non-compliance with its legal requirements as a "distributor of information".

It follows reports that Iran has also moved to block Telegram, which is used widely in Russian Federation as well as the Middle East. Active users of the app reached 200 million in March.

Back in March, Telegram lost an appeal in Russian Federation after the country's Supreme Court ruled that it must continue providing user data to the country's security services, the FSB, so that it prevent terrorist attacks. "The law is the law, and if it is not complied with [by Telegram] and relevant measures are taken, we will look for an alternative that best suits our needs", Peskov told reporters, commenting on the issue.

Earlier, the CrimeRussia had reported that on March 20 this year Roskomnadzor had warned Telegram Messenger Limited that it had to fulfill the duties of an information source. Telegram has refused to comply with its demands, citing respect for user privacy. Judge Nazarova said Telegram's claim against the FSB was canceled.

"Telegram will stand for freedom and privacy", he said in a Tweet. Durov, Telegram's founder, has long claimed that this is not only unconstitutional, but it's not feasible from a technical standpoint because of the end-to-end encryption Telegram uses. According to the BBC, the company said that the way the service is built means it can't even access them.

In June 2017, Roskomnadzor threatened to block Telegram, registered in Britain, if it refused to register in Russia in accordance with Russian legislation.

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