Russian Federation orders immediate block of Telegram messaging app

Alexander Scherbak  TASS

Alexander Scherbak TASS

"Russian authorities have begun blocking Telegram".

Russian news agency Tass reports that the messaging service will be blocked immediately following the latest court ruling, and the ban will be in place until Telegram provides decryption keys to the FSB.

The company's owner Pavel Durov - born in St Petersburg but now living in the West - released a statement via the app on Friday, claiming that "the power that local governments have over IT corporations is based on money". At Telegram, we have the luxury of not caring about revenue streams or ad sales.

Telegram has over 9.5 million users in Russian Federation, according to researcher Mediascope. Even if Durov changes Telegram's software to try to bypass Russia's block, "he will realize that most people just don't want to bother", Kremlin internet adviser German Klimenko said on Facebook. Unfortunately it seems that it is this level of security and privacy that has resulted in the app getting banned in Russian Federation.

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He also spoke about special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. The former FBI Director broke his long silence, giving his first one-on-one interview since President Trump fired him.

Pavel Chikov, the lawyer who represented Telegram's interests during the court dispute with the authorities, wrote on Twitter on Monday morning that the Telegram.org website had become unavailable.

Though it blocked about 78 channels operated by the terrorist group, their privacy policies were not satisfactory for the global security community.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian communications and technology watchdog, had demanded that the app be blocked.

Telegram has also consistently argued that the FSB's requests for encryption keys is unconstitutional and can't be met from a technical perspective without diminishing security for all users.

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