Russian Federation to ban instant messaging app, Telegram after highly successful ICO

Alexander Scherbak  TASS

Russian Federation began implementing a ban on the Telegram messenger service for refusing to hand over encryption keys to security services, a move that forced Kremlin officials to switch to another provider for communications with media.

The ruling by Moscow judge Yulia Smolina imposes restrictions on access to Telegram and stops providing technical support for message transmission in order to meet the requirements of Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor. Though the Russian authorities have instructed all Internet Service Providers in Russia to comply with the court ruling, the court decision could still be appealed within a 30 days period.

The company is required by Russian law to provide encryption keys to let the Federal Security Service read the correspondence of suspected terrorists.

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Interfax cited Alexander Zharov, the head of Roskomnadzor, as saying that it would take several hours to complete the operation to block access to the app.

Russia's communications watchdog has started to enforce a nationwide ban on popular messaging application Telegram.

Telegram was launched by two brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov back in 2013 and the team is now based in Dubai with an estimated 200 million monthly active users as of March 2018. Roskomnadzor threatened with the trial if Telegram would not pass the encryption keys to the FSB. "Due to this, the information on these internet resources was sent to the mobile phone operators to limit the access on April 16", the message said. Durov has long said he will reject any attempt by the country's security services to gain backdoor access to the app.

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