Moscow Court approves ban on messaging app Telegram

Moscow Court approves ban on messaging app Telegram

Moscow's Tagansky court satisfied the demand of Russia's telecommunications watchdog and blocked access to the Telegram messenger in Russian Federation over its failure to furnish keys to the Federal Security Service to decrypt user messages, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom.

The decision came into force immediately and Telegram is expected to be blocked today.

The court turned down the request, and swiftly ordered Telegram's blocking.

Telegram's lawyers were not present at the hearing and Pavel Durov's lawyer - Pavel Chikov - said that they did not want to "legitimize a blatant farce with their presence,". However, he refused to abide by "laws incompatible with Telegram privacy policy", Durov wrote on his VKontakte (VK) page in late June.

The Meshchansky District Court of Moscow has fined the company 800,000 rubles ($14,000) for refusal to provide FSB with information on message decoding concerning several users.

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However, according to Telegram, not only is this requirement unconstitutional, it is also technically impossible as the encryption keys keep changing.

Telegram had missed a deadline of 4 April to hand over the keys.

In December, Telegram Messenger LLP filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court of Russian Federation seeking to cancel the Federal Security Service's (FSB) decree establishing the procedure for provision of information on decoding of user data.

Roskomnadzor warned Telegram on 20 March that it had 15 days to comply. Telegram's lawyer told the newspaper that the messaging service plans to do so.

This ruling will give Roskomnadzor the authority to make Russian ISP's block access to the Telegram domains and its users IP addresses. According to the company, the security agency had no powers to issue such an order as it runs counter to the law demanding a court judgement for an access to user messages.

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