Russian Federation bans Telegram encrypted messaging app


The ban comes after a protracted dispute between Telegram and Russian authorities, who insist they need access to the encryption keys to investigate serious crimes, including terrorist attacks.

In 2016, Russian Federation put severe anti-terrorism laws in place that ordered messaging services, like Telegram, to cooperate with officials and grant them access to their message decryption. FSB demanded those keys because it wanted to read user messages as part of its anti-terror measures.

Dinze pointed out that Telegram's lawyers had tried to obtain the necessary documents so that the court hearing could be delayed and "we could resolve the issue".

However, Telegram refused to hand over the encryption keys, saying it would not compromise the privacy of its 200 million users around the world. Telegram still has the opportunity to appeal the ban, but given the court's rejection of the company's last appeal, it may not make much of a difference.

Founder of Telegram Pavel Durov promised users built-in methods to bypass the blocking but warned that without VPN services Telegram's stable operation at this stage is not guaranteed.

Roskomnadzor, Telegram and the Russian Embassy didn't immediately respond to CNET requests for comment.

The ban will not be removed until Telegram hands over the decryption keys to the FSB, reported TASS, a Russian state-sponsored news agency.

Russian Federation and Telegram have been going at it for the past couple of months, and now it's getting ugly.

The decision came a week after Russia's state communication watchdog filed a lawsuit to limit access to Telegram messaging app following the company's refusal to give Russian state security services access to its users messages. It seems that officials working in the Kremlin in Moscow also use the messaging app, often to trade messages with journalists and set up conference calls with a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin.

Telegram has also frequently hit the headlines over its use by terrorists, although that is more to do with its unencrypted "channels" feature, through which people can broadcast their opinions to followers.

"Unfortunately, they did not manage to reach such a consensus", he said.