Russian internet watchdog launches procedure to block access to Telegram messenger

Pavel Durov's September 2017 post on Telegram explains why he can't visit Iran and Russia. Source Telegram

Roskomnadzor claimed that Telegram had not been entirely honest in its statements, as some unnamed experts said that it is still possible to give the security services some keys allowing secret messages to be decoded.

The ruling by Moscow judge Yulia Smolina imposes restrictions on access to Telegram and stops providing technical support for message transmission in order to meet the requirements of Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor.

A Russian court has ruled that messaging application Telegram must be blocked in the country. The ban came as a result of its refusal to give Russian intelligence authorities access to its user encryption keys.

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There are some of you guys who might be familiar with the Telegram messaging app. The Kremlin's press service told journalists on Monday that it will be switching to ICQ, a 1990s chat service now owned by billionaire Alisher Usmanov's Mail.ru, to communicate with them. He made a post about this on VKontakte, the popular Russian social network. Telegram co-founder and CEO Pavel Durov refused, saying the request was unconstitutional. He also said that the agency would soon address the App Store and Google Play with official demands to make the downloading of Telegram's applications impossible in Russian Federation. The ban followed a long-running battle between authorities and Telegram, which has a reputation for securely encrypted communications, as Moscow pushes to increase surveillance of internet activities.

Telegram has more than nine million users in Russian Federation alone, and an estimated 200 million users worldwide. He has since been a vocal critic of the Kremlin's policies on Internet freedom.