Russian Federation starts blocking Telegram

Alexander Scherbak  TASS

Alexander Scherbak TASS

The actions of the leadership of the company managing the Telegram messenger pose threat to Russia's interests and security of its citizens, Maria Smelyanskaya, a representative of Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor, said during the hearing on the messenger blocking on Friday.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) wants to access user data from Telegram through the sharing of encryption keys, but Telegram has refused to comply even after a court ruling. "My work is to fulfill this irreproachably in technical terms".

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It took the court all of 18 minutes to grant the request, after scheduling the hearing just one day before, according to the reports.

Russian Federation implemented strict anti-terrorism laws in 2016, which required messaging services to provide authorities with the ability to decrypt messages. The app was used to prepare the April 2017 St. Petersburg attack, the FSB added.

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In response to Friday's court ruling, Telegram's co-founder Pavel Durov tweeted: "Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed". 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. The messaging service offers end-to-end encryption, meaning that Telegram itself has no access to the content of messages. The block may not immediately affect those tech savvy users, as Telegram plans to use methods to bypass the block.

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