Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Industry | By Johnnie Johnson

Telegram to be banned in Russian Federation, but VPN will bypass ban

Telegram to be banned in Russian Federation, but VPN will bypass ban

A Moscow court on Friday ruled to block the popular messaging app Telegram in Russian Federation, after it refused to give state security services access to private conversations.

"The court made a decision to meet the requirements of Roskomnadzor, impose restrictions on access to Telegram messenger and stop providing technical conditions for the exchange of messages", judge Yulia Smolina was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency.

According to the court's decision, access to Telegram will be blocked until the fulfillment of obligations on the transfer of encryption keys to the FSB. Telegram is refusing to comply, and now a Russian court ruled in favor of blocking the app in the country.

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Telegram did not respond to the request and was fined 800,000 rubles (£9,103), before it filed a case with the Russian Supreme Court claiming the FSB's order was invalid, which was subsequently overturned, according to news agency Tass.

As a result, Roskomnadzor filed a lawsuit demanding the messenger be blocked in Russian Federation on April 6.

Telegram founder and CEO, Pavel Durov, said the app will be using built-in systems to circumnavigate the ban but could not guarantee complete access without a virtual private network, or VPN.

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The app is much-loved among Russia's elites and top officials, who use it to both to message each other and to contact journalists.

Telegram is based in Berlin, and has around 200m monthly active users.

Unfortunately, access to VPN's is a bit trickier in Russian Federation than it is in other parts of the world, so some of those services may not be available. Telegram has repeatedly denied access on grounds of respecting its users' privacy. Regional "access to Telegram messenger" is to be shut down, and the "technical conditions for the exchange of messages" are no longer to be provided. "What matters most is privacy which is not for sale and more to that human rights should not be compromised out of greed or fear".

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Telegram's Pavel Duriv had this to say. So popular is the app in Russian Federation that some highly placed government officials including the press officer to President Vladimir V. Putin is reported to be among its users. Last summer the Indonesian government also used blocks to wring content-related concessions out of Telegram.

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