nsucurrent.com April 24, 2018

Telegram chat app blocked in Russia

15 April 2018, 12:51 | Ricardo Garza

Telegram users prep for blocking

Telegram users prep for blocking

Russian security services ordered Telegram to hand over access to encrypted user messages, but the messaging application (app) refused. Today, Judge Yulia Smolina said, "The court ruled to satisfy the demand of Roskomnadzor". But according to the company, the way its messaging service is designed means that it can't access customers' encryption keys.

The move was made after Telegram refused to give up the encryption keys they has used to scramble messages, and security officials reported being anxious about potential terror activity on the platform.

Telegram, one of the most popular messaging app in Russian Federation, refused to comply with the demand, citing privacy laws.

Roskomnadzor claimed that Telegram was not entirely honest in these statements, as some unnamed experts said it is still possible to give the security services some keys allowing secret messages to be decoded. FSB demanded those keys because it wanted to read user messages as part of its anti-terror measures.

Last June, Telegram and Russia's communications regulator Roskomnadzor seemingly found a common ground created to see the former continue to offer its services unhindered. It's not just that because it's also due to how much Telegram values security and privacy that its founder, Pavel Durov, would not budge on the matter at all, despite being pushed hard by the agency.

Given how widely Telegram is used, a suspension of service is bound to affect users in the country. In March, 2018 it announced that it reached more than 200 million active users.

April 13, the Tagansky Court of Moscow granted Roscomnadzor's application to block access to the messenger in Russian Federation.

Telegram Group Inc., is run by its founder Pavel Durov who is Russian. In order to comply, Telegram would have to make users' conversations readable by the government.

Similarly, despite the Ukrainian government blocking Durov's well-known social network VKontakte in May 2017, users continue to be able to use it via mobile app.

However, Telegram's lawyer Pavel Chikov said makes an try and stop the app being utilized in Russian Federation are "groundless". The company is insulated from the power that local governments typically have over IT companies because it has the "luxury of not caring about revenue streams or ad sales", Mr Durov said in a message posted on his Telegram channel.

Third-party VPN/Proxy-might be overloaded, which is likely to result in slow operation during the first hours after the block. "Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed".

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