Rus­sia steps in to block ac­cess to Tele­gram app

The National - News - - NEWS WORLD -

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.

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