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Russia Bans Telegram After Encryption Dispute

Russia Bans Telegram After Encryption Dispute

The Moscow court ruled in favor of the Russian communications watchdog, which had demanded that Telegram be blocked in Russia until it hands over the keys to its encryption.

A Russian court has ordered a block on access to the Telegram messaging app - with the block coming into force immediately, according to the BBC.

Allaying the fears of Telegram and its users, the FSB said obtaining the encryption keys does not violate users' privacy because the keys themselves are not regarded as information of restricted access.

The regulator sought to dam the app after the company refused at hand over encryption keys used to scramble messages. Roskomnadzor head Alexander Zharov wouldn't tell TASS when or how Russian Federation would block Telegram, only that it would be soon.

The FSB first asked the app to provide information to decode messages sent by six telephone numbers linked to members of terrorist organisations in Russian Federation, including the suicide bomber behind the terror attack on St Petersburg's metro in April 2017, in which 15 people died.

Telegram was still available late Friday afternoon in Russian Federation, several hours after the court ruling. 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.

Over 200 million people around the world use Telegram, making it the ninth-most popular communications app.

The NYT said the ban will put the Kremlin in a slightly awkward position, because many inside the government, including those in President Vladimir Putin's press office, use Telegram. A Russian native, Durov now is based in Dubai.

On March 20, Roskomnadzor (the Federal Service for Supervision for Information Technologies and Mass Media) issued an official notice to Telegram on the need to comply with the requirements of the FSB. Mr Durov, who was forced to sell his remaining stake in Russia's largest social network, VK, to a Kremlin-friendly billionaire in 2014, has said Telegram can't be bought - at any price.

Third-party VPN/Proxy-might be overloaded, which is likely to result in slow operation during the first hours after the block.