Russia to Restrict Access to Telegram

One of the fastest growing social networks and messaging apps in the world, Telegram, has been hit with a ban from Russian authorities.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, posted on their site;

“The procedure for restricting access to the Telegram messenger will be organized after Roskomnadzor receives the relevant decision of the Tagansky court. Restriction of access will be carried out within the framework of the current legislation. Additional information on this issue will be published in a timely manner on the website of the agency.”

The restriction was not unexpected as Telegram and its founder Pavel Durov have been engaged in a legal battle since the company refused to hand over encryption keys to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

In March, Roskomnadzor notified Telegram that it must comply with the FSB request to provide the FSB “with the information necessary to decode received, transmitted, delivered and (or) processed electronic messages.” Durov has remained resolute in his determination not to allow the FSB access user communications. A Russian native, Durov currently is based in Dubai.

On Friday, April 6, Roskomnadzor filed a lawsuit in the Tagansky District Court of Moscow with a request to restrict access to the territory of Russia of Telegram.

An interesting twist to the entire saga is the claim that reportedly the Russian government is a heavy user of Telegram due to the encryption. Reuters reported that Russian government officials plan on using VPN to circumvent the ban.

Telegram is in the midst of an initial coin offering that is expected to close at well over $1 billion. The ICO has reportedly received intense interest from VCs around the world as Telegram adds hundreds of thousands of users each day.


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