Russian Federation blocks Telegram - company responds by saying that updates will bypass ban

Telegram users prep for blocking

Telegram users prep for blocking

The court's judge said the decision must be implemented immediately and the access ban would remain in force until the FSB's demands were met. Telegram has previous agreed to register with the Russian government as an information distributor, but drew the line at giving encryption keys to the FSB.

Russia's media regulator had sought to block the app because the firm has refused to hand over encryption keys used to scramble messages.

A court in Moscow today granted Roskomnadzor, the Russian communications and technology watchdog an express right to ban Telegram.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, whose team uses Telegram to arrange briefings for reporters, said on Friday that it is not the Kremlin's place to comment on court rulings.

As a result, Roskomnadzor filed a lawsuit demanding the messenger be blocked in Russian Federation on April 6. And that happened not long after Telegram lost an appeal in March after the country's Supreme Court ruled that it must continue providing user data to the country's security services, the FSB, so that it can prevent terrorist attacks. Telegram is arguably the first widely popular means of communications in Russian Federation that has been officially banned. It has 200 million users around the world, with many of them in former Soviet Union republics and in the Middle East. The hearing lasted 18 minutes and was boycotted by Telegram's lawyers in protest of the hurried process.

However, Telegram's lawyer Pavel Chikov said makes an try and stop the app being utilized in Russian Federation are "groundless". "Governments do not have a right to demand indiscriminate access to individuals' private communications, and to punish Telegram for protecting their users' data also shows a shocking disregard for the extent to which many Russians rely on Telegram to communicate".

Durov wrote on Telegram that "privacy is not for sale", adding that "at Telegram, we have the luxury of not caring about revenue streams or ad sales".

"The power that local governments have over IT corporations is based on money", said Durov. Providers will block the app starting from April 16.

Telegram is especially popular among political activists of all stripes, and is also used by the Kremlin to communicate with journalists.

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