A court in Russian Federation ruled yesterday to block the popular messaging app Telegram in the country, after it refused to give state security services access to private conversations. The ruling follows months of battles between Telegram and Roskomnadzor, Russia's telecommunications watchdog.
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.
But Russia's FSB Federal Security service has said it needs access to some of those messages for its work that includes guarding against terrorist attacks.
The messaging app is widely used across Russian Federation and many nations in the Middle East.
Pavel Durov said that users should not remove Telegram as the functioning of this application will be carried out through built-in methods to bypass the lock.
Telegram has also been caught out before as an enabler of terrorist groups, thanks to its near-fanatical emphasis on user privacy.
The case was brought to court past year by the FSB, Russia internal security service.
"At Telegram, we have the luxury of not caring about revenue streams or ad sales", Durov, a Russian who fled the country in 2014, wrote.
If Russia forces local ISPs to block Telegram, users may need to use virtual private networks (VPNs) to fully avoid the ban. Telegram lawyers skipped the hearing in protest. Providers will block the app starting from April 16. The company filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against the fine, lawyer Damir Gainutdinov told RAPSI on March 22. Fewer researchers have a chance to test a new, custom-made protocol like Telegram's, which is only used in one app-though students at MIT have already found flaws (pdf) in Telegram's MTProto. Both opposition politicians and Kremlin officials use it to stay in touch, and self-described insiders publish anonymous leaks of varying reliability from inside the halls of power.