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Russia's telecom watchdog moves to block Telegram messaging app

Telegram is especially popular among political activists of all stripes, but has also been used by jihadists

AFP | PTI  |  Moscow 


Russia's telecoms watchdog today asked a court to block the popular messaging app Telegram, after a deadline for it to hand over keys to security services expired.

Roskomnadzor said in a statement it had filed a lawsuit "demanding the limiting of access on Russian territory" to encrypted app

Telegrams self-exiled Russian founder has long said he will reject any attempt by the to gain backdoor access to the app.

The free application, which lets people exchange messages, photos and videos in groups of up to 5,000 people, has attracted more than 200 million users since its launch in 2013.

is especially popular among political activists of all stripes, but has also been used by jihadists.

In September 2017 the FSB security service demanded keys, Durov said, prompting a formal complaint when the request was rejected.

Durov wrote last year that the FSBs demands are "technically impossible to carry out" and violate the Russian Constitution which entitles citizens to privacy of correspondence.

Roskomnadzors request is the latest move in a dispute between and the Russian authorities as pushes to increase surveillance of activities.

Last June, the watchdog threatened to ban the app for failing to provide registration documents. Although Telegram later registered, it stopped short of agreeing to its data storage demands.

on the register must provide the FSB with information on user interactions.

From this year they must also store all the data of Russian users inside the country, according to controversial anti-terror legislation passed in 2016 which was decried by and the opposition.

First Published: Fri, April 06 2018. 21:03 IST