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article imageRussia blocks Telegram app over security concerns

By Tim Sandle     Apr 14, 2018 in Technology
Moscow - Russia has announced plans to block the use of the social media app Telegram over security concerns. This stems from the developers refusing to supply the encryption keys used to scramble messages.
The decision to block the app comes from a ruling by a court in Moscow, which agreed to request from the Russian media regulator to prohibit the Telegram messaging app. This is to happen with immediate effect. The reason why the Russian media regulator brought the injunction is because the developers of Telegram refused to hand over the encryption keys used to scramble messages. The messaging app is widely used across Russia.
The Russian state said it was concerned that the Telegram app could be used by criminals and that it specifically needed to monitor uses of the app to scan for potential terrorists. Telegram responded by arguing that the way it has constructed the service was means that it has no access to customers' encryption keys. The Russian court did not support this, and the decision to block the app was taken, as the BBC reports.
Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging service. Telegram was founded by the Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov. Messages in Telegram are server-client encrypted by default, this is designed to help to avoid third-party unsecure backups, and to allow users to access messages and files from any device. The Verge's assessment is that Telegram is a major challenger to the social media messaging dominance currently enjoyed by WhatsApp, and to an extent Facebook Messenger.
According to the official Russian news agency TASS, Judge Yulia Smolina said: "The ban on access to information will be in force until the Federal Security Service’s demands are met on providing keys for decrypting user messages."
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