Russian internet watchdog launches procedure to block access to Telegram messenger

Alexander Scherbak  TASS

Alexander Scherbak TASS

The service, set up by a Russian entrepreneur, has more than 200 million global users and is ranked as the world's ninth most popular mobile messaging app. The messaging service offers end-to-end encryption, meaning that Telegram itself has no access to the content of messages. "It is telling that authoritarian governments (eg Russia) are trying to block Telegram over encryption, but are more relaxed when it comes to other encrypted messaging apps", Pavel Durov, the app's maverick creator - dubbed Russia's Mark Zuckerberg - wrote on Twitter.

The court ruling headed by Yuliya Smolina heeded to the application of the Russian Communications regulator Roskomnadzor to deny users access to the Telegram app citing failure to comply with local legislation. "We consider the ban decision anti-constitutional and will continue to defend the right to secret correspondence for Russians". "This may take days, hours, or minutes".

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One of the leading instant messaging service companies, Telegram, has been blocked from carrying out its operations in Russian Federation weeks after a highly successful initial coin offering (ICO) which raked in $1.7 billion. According to reports, the country's officials often use it to communicate with reporters.

Pavel Durov vowed that the messenger would use in-app methods to bypass the ban, so that its users would not have to do anything extra to stay online.

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

He also said that regardless of blocking, Telegram will retain the ability to send notices to all Russian users, informing them about the development of the situation.

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Durov who fled the country in 2014 said that the company has "the luxury of not caring about revenue streams or ad sales".

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