Published: Wed, April 18, 2018
Culture | By Glenn Strickland

Russian Federation starts blocking Telegram app

Russian Federation starts blocking Telegram app

"By attempting to block the Telegram messaging app, the Russian authorities are launching the latest in a series of attacks on online freedom of expression in the country", Krivosheev says in a statement. The reason is our refusal to provide encryption keys to Russian security agencies. "We implement the court decision", he said.

"We consider the decision to block the app to be unconstitutional and we will continue", he said. However, he also said that "100 percent availability of the service without VPN is not guaranteed".

The founder of Telegram thanked Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft for choosing not to support the censorship.

The ban comes as Telegram has been preparing for its Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

So now Roskomnadzor has ordered Russian ISPs to block 1.8 million IP addresses belonging to Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.

So how long those other tech companies stand firm remains to be seen. The service was briefly disrupted in Russia, but by Monday evening Russian users reported a significant improvement.

Russia's state telecommunications regulator said on Monday it had begun blocking access to messenger service Telegram after the service's owner refused to comply with an order to give Russian state security access to users' secret messages.

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Among those impacted was Viber, another popular messaging app, that said on April 16 that some users in Russian Federation were experiencing problems using the app to make calls.

In February, Telegram was briefly missing from the Apple App Store.

In 2016, the powerful agency teamed up with the Kremlin to push through a new terrorism law that grants security officials sweeping backdoor access to encrypted apps like Telegram.

For example, it has been used in the past to set up conference calls between officials and reporters.

The application's founder pledged "millions of dollars this year" in bitcoin grants to support individuals and companies who "support internet freedoms in Russian Federation and elsewhere" by providing proxies and VPN services to users.

He also announced he would donate millions of dollars in cryptocurrency to companies helping to promote VPNs and proxies, calling it the "digital Resistance".

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