Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Encryption dispute leads Russia to ban Telegram app

Alexander Scherbak  TASS Alexander Scherbak TASS
Steve Townsend | 14 April, 2018, 11:21

In Russia meanwhile, multiple media outlets have published options for users to circumvent the block, something which is reportedly easy to do through the use of VPN services.

Telegram has been used by the Islamic State (IS) group and its supporters though the company says it has made efforts to close down pro-IS channels.

The Virgin Islands-registered company has over 9.5 million users in Russian Federation, according to researcher Mediascope. The court argued that Telegram's end-to-end encryption poses a risk to national security, and it ordered the company to give its encryption keys to the Federal Security Service or FSB, the modern-day successor to the KGB. The messenger insists that it is technically impossible to transfer encryption keys.

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

Pavel Chikov, a lawyer representing Telegram, said the court decision was warning to global technology firms of the dangers of operating in Russian Federation. In addition, Telegram representatives said that they considered the demand to provide the keys illegal.

Hundreds injured in clashes at Gaza fence
This week's unarmed protest , called "Flag Day", has seen demonstrators burn Israeli flags and wave Palestinian ones. At a protest camp there, a large Israeli flag was placed on the ground for demonstrators to walk on.


At the end of March 2018, Telegram announced a record 200 mln active users for the preceding month.

A Russian court has ruled today that access to Telegram will be blocked in the country, Reuters reports.

In 2016, Russian Federation put severe anti-terrorism laws in place that ordered messaging services, like Telegram, to cooperate with officials and grant them access to their message decryption. The government in Russian Federation has been asking Telegram to create a backdoor so that it can monitor messages being shared on the platform. The watchdog warned the service that it would take the matter to court unless the keys are provided within 15 days.

Telegram doesn't require users to know each other's phone numbers to communicate, just a screen name. A cryptographic protocol is generally more secure the longer it has been in use, and the more people use it.

Durov was famously forced out of his own VKontakte social network as the Russian government cracked down on the firm.

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