Russian Federation bans Telegram after messaging app ignores court order

Court rules to block Telegram in Russia

The Tagansky District Court of Moscow has blocked access to Telegram messenger for the whole Russia, RAPSI correspondent reports from the courtroom. But according to the company, the way its messaging service is designed means that it can't access customers' encryption keys. Russian security services had demanded Telegram provide them with access to users' encrypted messages; Telegram refused on the grounds of protecting user privacy. Because of this, Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor requested the court to ban the app outright. Roskomnadzor head Alexander Zharov wouldn't tell TASS when or how Russian Federation would block Telegram, only that it would be soon. The court's judge announced that the ban will be made instantly and that it will remain the case until Telegram provides encryption keys to the FSB.

The court filing by Roskomnadzor says Telegram had failed to abide by the rules and regulations as a "distributor of information".

Then, the agency sent a request to Telegram's CEO Pavel Durov for providing info to decode messages of six phones that were used concerning the attack. It has been called the "app of choice for many Isis, pro-Isis and other jihadi and terrorist elements" by Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which tracks terrorists' online communications, due to the strong level of encryption it deploys.

"Many Telegram users have already adopted different messengers, and those who want to stay with this product know a lot of ways to get around the ban and continue using the services they are used to", Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.

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April 13, the Tagansky Court of Moscow granted Roscomnadzor's application to block access to the messenger in Russian Federation.

The Russian court's decision to block Telegram can hurt the company since it is a relatively popular app and can be accessed on mobile devices as well as desktops. In order to comply, Telegram would have to make users' conversations readable by the government.

In a tweet responding to the news, founder Pavel Durov wrote: "Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed". Telegram founder Pavel Durov agreed to register the service in Russian Federation. Providers will block the app starting from April 16.

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