Telegram Banned by Moscow Court During its ICO Pre-Sale

Alexander Scherbak  TASS

Alexander Scherbak TASS

The agency initially filed the lawsuit last week, requiring Telegram to hand over the encryption keys to the Federal Security Service (FSB) in order to facilitate the fight against terrorism and other criminal activities believed to be coordinated using the messaging service.

Because Telegram is recognised as an operator of information dissemination in Russian Federation, the company is required to provide encryption keys to let the Federal Security Service read the correspondence of suspected terrorists.

The popular messaging app Telegram has recently been banned according to the FT.

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In 2016 President Vladimir Putin signed laws that were meant to fight terrorism and made it legally enforceable for messaging services to give up encryption keys security services. The service is also widely used by Russian authorities and Russian news agency Interfax says Tagansky District Court described the request of Telegram's lawyers to adjourn the hearings as "abuse of law" and ordered the trial to go ahead.

In a statement, he said: "The FSB's requirements to provide access to private conversations of users are unconstitutional, baseless, which can not be fulfilled technically and legally".

According to Fyodor Skuratov, the founder of Combot Community Analytics, the number of bot installations for Telegram Socks5 Bot in Russian Federation used to reach 2000 per day, but now it has grown dramatically. Apparently, the Kremlin even uses Telegram to coordinate timings of regular conference calls with Vladimir Putin's spokesman.

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While the court order is effective immediately, the head of Roskomnadzor, Alexander Zharov clarified that the messenger will be blocked after the necessary technical preparation is completed. Desktop users of Telegram can use the SOCKS5 protocol while mobile users can use proxy servers or virtual private networks.

According to MediaScope, the audience of Telegram in Russian Federation, taking into account users of the desktop version, reached 12.2 million people in February.

As the Russian crypto community is highly active on Telegram, it is uncertain what impact it may have on the Russian ICO and crypto market.

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Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb criticized the court ruling saying that it a controversial decision. Tareen too was disqualified in December 2017 for hiding assets and owning an offshore company.

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