Moscow orders for the immediate ban of Telegram in Russian Federation

Russia orders immediate block of Telegram messaging app

"The court made a decision to meet the requirements of Roskomnadzor, impose restrictions on access to Telegram messenger and stop providing technical conditions for the exchange of messages", TASS news agency quoted judge Yulia Smolina as saying.

Russia's media regulator had sought to block the app because the firm has refused to hand over encryption keys used to scramble messages.

Russia's FSB Federal Security service argued that it needs to be able to access the messages to safeguard against terrorist attacks.

In March, Roskomnadzor notified Telegram that it must comply with the FSB request to provide the FSB "with the information necessary to decode received, transmitted, delivered and (or) processed electronic messages".

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.

Telegram lawyers did not attend the preliminary consultations on Thursday or the Friday hearings.

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Venediktov, who uses the app to stay in touch with people in government, said he spent the morning telegramming his contacts, both in and out of government, with instructions on how to install a virtual private network (VPN) on their phones to get around a ban. "Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed".

The chief executive of the Telegram messenger app, Pavel Durov, has vowed to allow users to circumvent a Russian government ban of the service following a court decision on Friday.

Telegram is based in Berlin, and has around 200m monthly active users.

The messaging service is one of the most popular in Russian Federation and in the Middle East, with Telegram claiming over 200 million active users in these regions.

Other encrypted messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Signal, remain legal in Russian Federation.

This article was updated to add comment from Pavel Durov.

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