Written by Christoffer Horvath.
After the Telegram’s creator Pavel Durov refused to provide the Russian Federal Security Service with keys to the Telegram app, the authorities have officially blocked its usage in the country. The procedure has been initiated on the 16th of April by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) which previously won the case against Telegram in the Taganskiy Moscow court. The court ruled that the refusal to submit the keys unequivocally violates the Russian law. The app is expected to be blocked within 24 hours once the data on the servers is updated.
The Federal Security Service requested the encryption keys in July 2017 claiming that the Telegram’s encrypted messages could be used for malicious purposes, including by the terrorist organizations. However, Pavel Durov, who is also the creator of a prominent social network popular in the post-Soviet countries, Vkontakte, prioritized its users’ privacy and refused to provide the keys. Durov’s decision is partially the result of his opposition towards Russia’s policy towards Internet freedom. He left the country in 2014.
More than 200 mln people are using Telegram around the world. The ban has also affected the major retailer Amazon, as the Roskomnadzor demanded the Russian operators to block more than 655 K of its IP addresses. It claims that Telegram is using them to circumvent the ban. According to a Russian IT consultant from Anti-Corruption Foundation Vladislav Zdolnikov, four of Amazon’s subnetworks were blocked: 18.104.22.168/15, 22.214.171.124/15, 126.96.36.199/15 and 188.8.131.52/14 which are used by more than half a million of IP addresses. He assumes that many other resources will be impacted by this decision and cited that major supermarkets like the Russian “Dixie” had trouble using cash-desks yesterday. The representatives of “Dixie” have not addressed his claims.
Pavel Durov promised earlier that Telegram will use integral ways of circumventing the blocks which don’t require additional actions from its users.