Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Research | By Derrick Holloway

Quick end to chat app Telegram in Russian Federation

Quick end to chat app Telegram in Russian Federation

"It is telling that authoritarian governments (e.g., Russia) are trying to block Telegram over encryption, but are more relaxed when it comes to other encrypted messaging apps", Pavel Durov, the app's maverick creator - dubbed Russia's Mark Zuckerberg - wrote on Twitter.

A court in Russian Federation ordered a block of messaging app Telegram this week but founder Pavel Durov has shrugged off the impact of the ban 24 hours in - claiming the app hasn't seen "a significant drop in user engagement so far".

Russia's state telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor said Monday that it had sent a notice to telecommunications operators in the country instructing them to block the service.

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In addition to being popular with the Russian public, Telegram has also become the messaging app of choice for many government officials.

Last Friday, Tagansky District Court ordered access to internet messenger Telegram to be blocked after the company's managers repeatedly refused to hand over encryption keys to its clients' correspondence to Russia's Federal Security Service, as required under Russian data protection law. But on Monday, the Russian Federation spokesman's office said it will now start using a different app.

"We need to find a way to have an encrypted messaging service that is not encrypted by the United States or Russian Federation", the spokeswoman said.

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Roskomnadzor was implementing a decision handed down on Friday by a Russian court, which ruled that Telegram should be blocked because it was in violation of Russian regulations.

However, over the weekend Telegram moved its services onto Amazon and Google's cloud infrastructure, in an attempt to continue serving its customers. According to him, both companies were notified of the blocking of addresses due to Telegram.

Telegram was briefly unavailable to users early Monday afternoon, but was back online later in the day. The Kremlin has used it for arranging conference calls with reporters.

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The French government's encrypted app has been developed on the basis of free-to-use code found on the Internet and could be eventually made available to all citizens, the spokeswoman said. FSB argued the importance of access to Telegram for national security reasons.

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