Russia steps in to block access to Telegram app
Russia’s communications watchdog yesterday began blocking access to the popular messaging app Telegram after a court banned the service for refusing to give the 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,” the watchdog said.
Some Russian internet providers began blocking Telegram yesterday afternoon.
“Russian authorities have begun blocking Telegram. The service could be unstable without VPN. We will inform you on the developing situation,” the messaging app notified its Russian users.
About 10 activists were arrested after demonstrating outside the FSB security service headquarters against the move, said Maria Alekhina, a member of the Russian protest punk group Pussy Riot.
“The police came and took us by the arm and put us in a van,” Alekhina said. “They did not give us a reason.” She said protesters had flown paper planes – Telegram’s logo – at the FSB building.
The ban follows a long-running battle between authorities and Telegram, which is known for securely encrypted communications, as Moscow pushes to increase surveillance of internet activities.