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Telegram chat app blocked in Russian Federation

14 Avril 2018

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

Influential users include Margarita Simonyan, the head of the state-funded TV station Russia Today, and Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin's press secretary, who schedules briefings using the service.

The app is also widely used by the Russian authorities, Reuters news agency reports.

A Russian court have ruled that Telegram can no longer be used, and they ordered an immediate block on the app.

"The issue of resuming access to Telegram's information resources will be considered if Telegram provides to the FSB information needed for decrypting user messages", Roskomnadzor said.

The judge further observed that the court's verdict ought to be implemented instantly. The FSB requested decryption keys from Telegram back in mid-July of 2017. In addition, representatives of Telegram noted that it would be technically impossible to meet FSB's requirements.

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.

In fact, the text, voice and video chat app is so ubiquitous in Russian Federation that local government officials, agencies and even President Vladimir Putin's press office routinely use it for both formal and informal communications.

"Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed", Durov wrote on Telegram.

Third-party VPN/Proxy-might be overloaded, which is likely to result in slow operation during the first hours after the block.

In Indonesia, Telegram was blocked for reasons similar to those cited by Russian Federation.

That ban was lifted after Indonesia claimed to have taken steps to "block negative content".

Russia's main security agency, the FSB, has said Telegram is the messenger of choice for "international terrorist organisations in Russia". The Iranian government took a similar step on New Year's Eve, which Telegram argues was motivated by the fact that Iranian political opposition were using the platform to communicate.

Telegram chat app blocked in Russian Federation