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Russian court rules to block Telegram messenger

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-04-13 23:23
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MOSCOW - Moscow's Tagansky District Court on Friday granted the demand of Russia's state sensor Roskomnadzor to block the access to the Telegram messenger in Russia due to its refusal to provide user data.

"The court ruled to satisfy the demand of Roskomnadzor...the decision is to be implemented immediately," Judge Yulia Smolina was quoted as saying by local media.

Roskomnadzor announced earlier that it had filed a lawsuit demanding Telegram be blocked after it failed to provide encryption keys to security services before the deadline.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has been demanding access to messages on the popular messaging application on the suspicion that it was used to organize terrorist activities, including the deadly metro bomb attack in Russia's second largest city St. Petersburg last April, which killed 14 people.

Telegram, one of the most popular messaging app in Russia, refused to comply with the demand, citing privacy laws.

Roskomnadzor will start the procedure to ban Telegram after receiving the relevant order from the Tagansky District Court, according to a statement by the agency.

"The issue of resuming access to Telegram's information resources will be considered if Telegram provides to the FSB information needed for decrypting user messages," Roskomnadzor said.

In response, Telegram's lawyers said that they would file an appeal at the Moscow City Court after a careful study of the ruling.

In the meantime, Telegram's owner Pavel Durov said that the messaging app will use built-in methods to bypass the blocking, although full access to the service without VPN is not guaranteed.

Launched in 2013, Telegram is now among the world's most popular mobile messaging apps. It has 200 million users around the world, with many of them in former Soviet Union republics and in the Middle East.

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