IT&Software

Telegram Loses Free Expression Battle to Russian Authorities

Telegram Loses Free Expression Battle to Russian Authorities

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) ordered the app to hand over encryption keys allowing it to access messages, which are scrambled during the encryption process, in order to thwart potential terror attacks.

In a move that could have a severe impact on how the global cryptocurrency market communicates, a Russian court has ruled that telecommunications providers must block highly popular encrypted messaging app Telegram within the country.

Pavel Durov, founder of the Telegram, had repeatedly said his company would not hand over encryption keys to Russian authorities as it does not share confidential user data with anyone.

Telegram's developer Pavel Durov had asked his lawyers not to attend the court hearing because he said he saw the verdict as a foregone conclusion.

The Russian court told Telegram that it would ban the app if the company did not comply with its demands, and now the court has followed through on that threat.

"The issue of resuming access to Telegram's information resources will be considered if Telegram provides to the FSB information needed for decrypting user messages", Roskomnadzor said.

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Judge Yulia Smolina said in her decision that the ban was to be implemented immediately, Russian press agency TASS reported. "Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed".

The Supreme Court docket docket last month threw out an enchantment by Telegram in opposition to the requirement to supply the information.

"At Telegram, we don't care about revenue streams or even ads".

An interesting twist to the entire saga is the claim that reportedly the Russian government is a heavy user of Telegram due to the encryption.

The app is much-loved among Russia's elites and top officials, who use it to both to message each other and to contact journalists. Around 10 mln of Telegram's users are in Russian Federation and thus will be affected by the ban.

"Telegram will use built-in methods to bypass the block, which do not require additional steps from users, but the company can not give 100% guarantee of service availability without VPN".


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