Telegram chat app blocked in Russian Federation

Investigators in protective clothing remove a van from an address in Winterslow Wiltshire as part of their investigation into the nerve-agent poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England

Investigators in protective clothing remove a van from an address in Winterslow Wiltshire as part of their investigation into the nerve-agent poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England

Earlier, State media watchdog Roskomnadzor has asked the Tagansky court to allow the messenger to be blocked immediately in case of a favorable ruling.

The case was brought to court previous year by the FSB, Russia internal security service.

"Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed".

Durov went ahead to prevent Telegram's own lawyers from going for the court hearings. Judge Yulia Smolina specifically said that this must be done instantly by Telegram.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, whose team uses Telegram to arrange briefings for reporters, said on Friday that Russia would not have chose to block the service if the company had fulfilled the requirements of Russian law.

Telegram refused to comply, calling the order "unconstitutional" and "not based on law".

The app claims not to have "disclosed a single byte of our users' private data to third parties" since it was founded in 2013 by Russian Pavel Durov.

Influential users include Margarita Simonyan, the head of the state-funded TV station Russia Today, and Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin's press secretary, who schedules briefings using the service.

The company said the way the service was built meant it has no access to customers' encryption keys.

In his reaction to Friday's decision, Durov also implied the Russian government was motivated by money.

"Telegram is very convenient, we really use it, including for communication with journalists, it will be very unfortunate if there is no consensus, as far as we understand, it has not yet been found".

The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) entered web.telegram.org and t.me, used by Telegram messenger, in the list of prohibited websites, as Meduza reported. The takeaway? Those using Telegram for illicit purposes say they view Telegram as a platform that offers increased anonymity compared to other alternatives, and one that isn't as heavily policed when it comes to removing groups and channels focused on sharing pirated or illegal material.

Although Telegram later registered, it stopped short of agreeing to the regulator's data storage demands. He also said that Russian users will still receive notifications in order to update them on the situation.

Amnesty International rights group ahead of the verdict condemned what it called the "the latest in a series of attacks on online freedom of expression in the country".

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