Russia’s communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, has threatened to block Telegram unless it provides information regarding the company which controls the messaging app.

 

‘The Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications’ or Roskomnadzor, accused Telegram messaging app of violating Russian regulations. It also threatened to block the popular messaging app, Telegram if its managing company doesn’t comply with Russian law and provide the necessary data for official registration.

“There is one demand and it is simple: to fill in a form with information on the company that controls Telegram,” said Alexander Zharov, head of Roskomnadzor, in a letter published on the Roskomnadzor’s website. “And to officially send it to Roskomnadzor to include this data in the registry of organizers of dissemination of information,” he added. We should note that Roskomnadzor has not received any response from Telegram yet.

Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram also made a comment on this news and said that Telegram was not blocked in other countries and if Russian government blocks this app they should entrust their communication to other countries. Durov claims that the service is not connected to Russia, either legally or physically. He also called the possible restriction of Telegram ‘paradoxical’, objecting that the Russian government doesn’t block WhatsApp and Facebook which are Amercian companies. He described the relationship between Russia and Telegram as neutral relations. “However, as soon as Telegram is blocked, all correspondence between Russian officials and their friends and families and other sensitive data in WhatsApp/Viber would be passed to US-controlled Apple iCloud/Google Drive,” Durov said in a statement posted on Russia’s Vkontakte social network, which he also founded.

Zharov also made a response on Durov’s statement on Vkontakte, saying “Durov’s statement is neutral to terrorists and criminals who use his messenger and it totally ignores the safety of Telegram users.” 

According to Roskomnadzor, adding Telegram to the list means that the app is ready to operate under Russian law. Telegram’s current legal status in Russia will not change. 

If Telegram agrees to comply and provides the necessary information, and Roskomnadzor includes it in the list, the company will be forced to share users’ chats and keys with Russian law enforcement.

 

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