Telegram to be blocked in Russia after app refuses to let authorities read people's messages

It's not clear how the decision will affect users in other countries

Andrew Griffin
Friday 13 April 2018 10:56
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The Telegram messaging app logo is seen on a website in Singapore November 19, 2015. The mobile messaging service Telegram, created by the exiled founder of Russia’s most popular social network site, has emerged as an important new promotional and recruitment platform for Islamic State
The Telegram messaging app logo is seen on a website in Singapore November 19, 2015. The mobile messaging service Telegram, created by the exiled founder of Russia’s most popular social network site, has emerged as an important new promotional and recruitment platform for Islamic State

Telegram will be blocked in Russia, a Russian court has ruled.

Nobody in the country should be allowed to use the popular messaging app because it will not allow authorities to break into people's messages.

Telegram and Russian officials have been stuck in a long argument to try and force the app to give up the encryption keys that keep people's messages safe.

Authorities argue that it needs access to people's messages so that it can investigate serious crimes like terrorist attacks.

But Telegram and privacy advocates say that doing so will make all users unsafe and will undermine the technology that keeps messages private as they are sent over the internet.

The Moscow court ruled that Telegram will be blocked in Russia until it hands over the keys.

It's not clear how the decision to block the app in Russia will affect users in other countries. But it is likely that internet authorities will simply shut off access, meaning that international users will still be able to use the app as normal – though not to communicate with people in the country.

Telegram, a popular app developed by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, argues that the FSB intelligence service is violating consumer rights, while authorities say the app has been used by violent extremists.

The Supreme Court last month threw out an appeal by Telegram against the requirement to provide the data.

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