Telegram Banned In Russia After Refusing To Hand Over Encryption Keys

It has been reported that Telegram has been banned in Russia, after they refused to hand over encryption keys. Russia’s main security agency, the FSB, has said Telegram is the messenger of choice for “international terrorist organisations in Russia”. A suicide bomber who killed 15 people on a subway train in St Petersburg last April used the app to communicate with accomplices, the FSB said last year. The app is also widely used by the Russian authorities, Reuters news agency reports. Lee Munson, Security Researcher at Comparitech.com commented below.

Lee Munson, Security Researcher at Comparitech.com: 

“Even though only a miniscule proportion of Telegrams 200 million or so users would ever dream of doing anything wrong, let alone committing terrorist atrocities, the Russian government has successfully trampled what appears to be a constitutional right to privacy and free speech for its citizens by blocking the app.

Though its request for encryption keys was unlikely to have a meaningful impact on crime or terrorism anyway, the county’s media regulator took its legal bull into the china shop of secure communications in a way that British home secretaries can only dream about.

The upshot of this move, of course, is that many innocent civilians will lose the ability to secure their online chats while the bad guys will just choose an alternative app or create their own.

Given the fact that Russian officials also use Telegram, it is hard to see who, if anyone, actually wins or gains anything following this ruling.”

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