Russia has lifted a 2-year ban on the popular encrypted messaging app Telegram. In an official statement, the Russian communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, said: “As the Prosecutor General’s office agrees, Roskomnadzor withdraws the demand to restrict access to Telegram Messenger”.
The agency is removing the ban because the founder of the app, Pavel Durov, has reportedly decided to work with the government. Apparently, he promised that this app would be reworked to help the government “combat terrorism and extremism”. After his downfall with the Russian government, Drove has been living in exile for the past two years. There is no official statement from Durov on this subject yet.
The telegram was blocked by the Russian government in 2018 following a court order complying with the demands of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). At the center of the dispute was the end-to-end encryption of telegrams that prevented Russian intelligence agencies from imposing restrictions on private users.
Officially, the government claimed that a ban was needed because the app was being used by terrorists. Apparently, ISI and other extremist groups were exploiting the Benami property offered by E2EE technology. The court ruled in favor of the government, confirming that Telegram would be blocked in Russia until the company was ready to share encryption keys with the government.
Although the ban officially remained in force, the app continued to be widely used across the country. According to reports, even top-tier officials like Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov were seen using the app during this period. Not only this, but even coronavirus task force operations in many Russian regions also use the app for daily updates like Whatsapp.
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