Russian court bans access to Telegram messenger

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The court tasked Russian media watchdog with "putting a stop to sending and receiving messages" in Telegram until the messenger fulfills its obligations by providing deciphering keys.

But it remains to be seen whether the company will agree to any concessions to get the Russian block removed. Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram Messenger, has confirmed that his company will not create a backchannel for government authorities to snoop on user messages.

In addition, Telegram IT specialists explained that it was not possible to hand over encryption keys to clients' messages because the correspondents exchanged them directly.

Roskomnadzor announced earlier that it had filed a lawsuit demanding Telegram be blocked after it failed to provide encryption keys to security services before the deadline. "The Russian authorities should refrain from shutting Telegram down and allow the appeal process to proceed unobstructed". At Telegram, we have the luxury of not caring about revenue streams or ad sales. The FSB ordered Telegram to decrypt messages in accordance with relatively recent anti-terrorism laws.

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The decision is effective immediately and will remain in force until Telegram developers provide the Russian Federal Security Service or FSB with an encryption key, she stated. Telegram is one of the popular apps in the world with over 200 million users in the world. Roskomnadzor said on its website it will start the procedure to block Telegram once it receives a written ruling from the court. Pavel Chikov, a lawyer representing Telegram, described the decision as a warning to other tech companies. It's also worth mentioning that Roskomnadzor can only order ISPs to block Russian users' access to the application, should Telegram continue to lose in court.

On his page in the VK social network yesterday, Mr Durov said the app will use built-in systems to circumnavigate the ban in Russian Federation. Reports have also suggested that Telegram's servers are used to store pirated movie and music content.

The court decision on Telegram is meant to make one of the last holdouts among communications companies bow to Putin's efforts to track electronic messaging.

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.