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Telegram banned in Russia following court ruling


However, it's unclear when the ban will take effect. Russian authorities have been threatening to ban Telegram since 2017 due to its developers' repeated refusal to give them access to users' data. Well, they can soon make good on that threat now that a Moscow court has officially issued a ban on the secure messaging application. It all started when KGB successor Federal Security Service (FSB) demanded access to Telegram's decryption keys last year. FSB wants those keys so it can read user messages, apparently as part of its anti-terror measures. It's no secret that Telegram has a terrorist problem due to the emphasis it places on user privacy -- in fact, the company has been blocking ISIS channels for years, though new ones continue to pop up. But it's also because of how much Telegram values security and privacy that its founder, Pavel Durov, wouldn't budge no matter hard the agency pushed. While his company eventually agreed to register with the Russian government as an information distributor that officially operates within the country, Durov refuses to comply with any request that can compromise user data. As a result, Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor asked the court to ban the app. According to Russian news agency Tass, the ban will take effect immediately. However, Financial Times says the ban will likely come into effect after Telegram has exhausted all its appeals next month, and Roskomnadzor can only order internet providers to block Russian users' access to the application if the company continues to lose in court.

“Privacy is not for sale,” Telegram founder says after being banned in Russia


Russian authorities are demanding a universal key. Telegram says it doesnt exist. A Russian court has paved the way for the government to block the Telegram messaging app over its creators' failure to provide authorities with access to users' encrypted messages, it was widely reported on Friday. Russia's state communications watchdog sought the ban last Friday in a lawsuit that asked the court for the authority to block the app's use in Russian territories. The watchdog said Russian authorities needed the ability to decrypt messages sent by potential terrorists and that Telegram had missed an April 4 deadline to turn over keys that would make that possible. At today's hearing, which was scheduled only 24 hours earlier, the court granted the request after just 18 minutes of deliberation, The New York Times reported. Telegram lawyers skipped the hearing in protest. The ruling came a month after telegram lost a lawsuit it filed against Russia's secretive security agency, the FSB, which has said Telegram is the messenger of choice for "international terrorist organizations in Russia." In 2016, the Kremlin supported a sweeping anti-terrorism law that required authorities to be given backdoor access to encrypted applications. Telegram, which says it has 200 million users, is widely used by lawyers, reporters, government officials, and others. The FSB says telegram was also used by a suicide bomber who last year killed 15 people on a subway in St. Petersburg. Telegram officials have long said their app is developed in a way that makes it impossible to provide authorities with a universal key that decrypts end-user messages. In an online statement Friday, Telegram founder Pavel Durov continued to resist Russia's demands, saying the government lacked the means to punish his company for its noncompliance. "At Telegram, we have the luxury of not caring about revenue streams or ad sales," Durov, a Russian who fled the country in 2014, wrote. "Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed." Friday's ruling clears the way for Russian communications regulators to order the country's ISPs to block the Telegram protocol or Telegram servers on their networks. While it might be possible for individuals to use virtual private networks for the Tor anonymity service to bypass such a move, the blocks would likely cause a major disruption for most Telegram users in that country. Telegram has announced its intention to launch a peer-to-peer technology, but it remains unclear if it would be enough to bypass a Russian ban. 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. Russia's Foreign Ministry has announced that it's moving to the Viber messaging app, the NYT reported, citing the Interfax news agency.