Moscow court bans Telegram messaging app

Moscow court bans Telegram messaging app

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) ordered the app to hand over encryption keys allowing it to access messages, which are scrambled during the encryption process, in order to thwart potential terror attacks.

The Tagansky District Court of Moscow ruled to restrict access to Telegram messenger in Russian Federation.

The Virgin Islands-registered company has over 9.5 million users in Russian Federation, according to researcher Mediascope.

The move was made after Telegram refused to give up the encryption keys they has used to scramble messages, and security officials reported being anxious about potential terror activity on the platform.

There is not any immediate comment from Pavel Durov, the Telegram founder, that a Russian who fled the country at 2014 immediately after losing control of this Russian social network Vkontakte, which he'd also established. He added that FSB's demand that his client must provide access to private conversations of users is not only unconstitutional but baseless and can not be fulfilled technically and legally.

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In response, Telegram's lawyers said that they would file an appeal at the Moscow City Court after a careful study of the ruling.

Last year, Russian Federation threatened to ban Telegram, after claiming the encrypted messaging app was used in a terror plot that left 16 people dead.

Over 200 million people around the world use Telegram, making it the ninth-most popular communications app. Security services made the demand under a series of laws passed in 2016 with the stated intention of fighting terrorism. Telegram has refused to comply with the demands, citing respect for user privacy.

The Guardain newspaper compared the ban to "Chinese-style" internet censorship and also said that there is no clarity as of now on how Russian Federation would block the app technically. A Russian native, Durov now is based in Dubai. The messaging app was founded by the Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov and his brother Nikolai. It will be hard for the government to hard press Telegram since the company has the "luxury of not caring about revenue streams or ad sales", Durov said on his Telegram channel. Telegram's lawyer told the newspaper that the messaging service plans to do so. Many government officials also use the messaging platform to communicate with media.

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