Moscow, Russia: Russia’s communications watchdog on Monday began blocking access to the popular messaging app Telegram after a court banned the service for refusing to give security services access to private conversations.
“Roskomnadzor has received the ruling of (Moscow’s) Tagansky court to block Telegram’s services on Russian territory.
This information was sent to providers on Monday 16th of April,” the watchdog said in a statement.
Some Russian internet providers began blocking Telegram on Monday afternoon.
“Russian authorities have begun blocking Telegram. The service could be unstable without a VPN. We will inform you on the developing situation,” the messaging app notified its Russian users.
The Kremlin’s press service told journalists on Monday that it will be switching to ICQ, a 1990s chat service now owned by billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s Mail.ru, to communicate with them.
“It is telling that authoritarian governments (e.g. Russia) are trying to block Telegram over encryption, but are more relaxed when it comes to other encrypted messaging apps,” Pavel Durov, the app’s maverick creator — dubbed Russia’s Mark Zuckerberg — wrote on Twitter.
Writing on Vkontakte, the social media platform he founded that is now under state control, Durov said the decision harms Russia’s national security as users will switch to WhatsApp and Facebook which are “controlled from the US.”
“We believe the ban is anti-constitutional and will continue to defend the right of Russians to private messaging,” Durov, who left Russia in 2014 and is now based in Dubai, said. – AFP