Court Rules to Block Access to Telegram Messaging Service in Russian Federation

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April 16, Roskomnadzor ordered the operators to start blocking Telegram across the country.

Following the refusal by Telegram to provide the keys to its encrypted message services, the Tangansky court in Moscow on Friday 13 of April moved to ban the messenger app from operating in Russian Federation.

The decision followed repeated refusal by the company to hand over encryption keys for its messages to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB). "Russian authorities have begun blocking Telegram". 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.

"The terrorist threat in Russia will stay at the same level, because extremists will continue to use encrypted communication channels - in other messengers, or through a VPN", Pavel Durov, the Russian founder and developer of the app, argued adding that ban would affect the quality of lives of 15 million Russians and do nothing to improve Russia's security.

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Regardless of the ban, Durov announced on Tass (Translated from Russian) that Telegram would still be able to notify its Russian users about the situation.

The instruction was issued by communications regulator Roskomnadzor in response to a district court ruling that Telegram should be restricted after it refused to grant Russian authorities access to its user data.

TWEET: If there's something that should not be banned in Russian Federation, it's Telegram.

Telegram is popular among blockchain and cryptocurrency advocates. Telegram, a free application that lets people exchange messages, stickers, photos and videos in groups of up to 5,000 people, has attracted more than 200 million users since its launch by Durov and his brother Nikolai in 2013. He has since been a vocal critic of the Kremlin's policies on Internet freedom.

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