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Popular messaging app Telegram has been banned in Russian Federation

Popular messaging app Telegram has been banned in Russian Federation

Earlier on Friday, Moscow's Tagansky District Court ruled to block access to Telegram in Russian Federation over its failure to provide decryption keys for messages to the Federal Security Service.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian media regulator has been granted permission by a court in Moscow to immediately block Telegram messaging app.

After the April 4 deadline passed and with Telegram still refusing to share its encryption keys, Roskomnadzor started legal action last week.

The agency initially filed the lawsuit last week, requiring Telegram to hand over the encryption keys to the Federal Security Service (FSB) in order to facilitate the fight against terrorism and other criminal activities believed to be coordinated using the messaging service. The court's judge announced that the ban will be made instantly and that it will remain the case until Telegram provides encryption keys to the FSB.

Telegram was still available late Friday afternoon in Russian Federation, several hours after the court ruling.

The FSB, Russia's main security agency, claims that Telegram is the primary messenger service used by "international terrorist organisations" in the country.

The NYT said the ban will put the Kremlin in a slightly awkward position, because many inside the government, including those in President Vladimir Putin's press office, use Telegram. Telegram has refused to comply with the demands, citing respect for user privacy. A person in the Russian government told Reuters that they plan to use a VPN app for accessing the service post this order. Mr Durov in June registered the service with the state communications watchdog after it was threatened with a ban over allegations that terrorists used it to plot a suicide-bomb attack. In an online statement Friday, Telegram founder Pavel Durov continued to resist Russia's demands, saying the government lacked the means to punish his company for its noncompliance. So popular is the app in Russian Federation that some highly placed government officials including the press officer to President Vladimir V. Putin is reported to be among its users.

However, Telegram is also popular among human rights activists for the same reason, as it allows them to communicate relatively securely to a large group of people. The blockchain will also have a cryptocurrency which Telegram users can use.

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