On Tuesday, Kremlin’s communication official Roskomnadzor ordered the blocking of Telegram, a quite popular messaging app on the country, after the messaging service refused to obey a Russian court order to grant access of its encrypted messages and user information to the Russian state.
As tech and service companies Google and Amazon backed the decision made by Telegram, Russia’s state communications regulator stated it had blocked IP addresses directing to Google and Amazon with a total of 18 subnetworks banned with a big amount of addresses allegedly used by the messaging app.
If Russia is blocking Telegram for not handing over its encryption keys, does that mean WhatsApp & Skype, which aren't blocked, have already done so? Have they admitted or denied this? https://t.co/P3qMQPfoCK
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) April 16, 2018
How is Russia trying to block Telegram?
Telegram has become a natural election service in countries where communications are heavily under surveillance, for example, Russia. After Paul Durov, often called the Russian Zuckerberg, refused to share the encryption Keys to the messages, the Russian government started to denounce Telegram as a favorite “for terrorist organizations”.
Durov claims his decision was an easy one to make, and he stated on his channel that he will not back the government’s court order. He also stated that Telegram would provide 100 percent privacy to its users “and would rather cease to exist than violate this promise.” However, this triggered the Russian government IP blocking, which has already reportedly affected thousands.
As the Google and Amazon IP flow blockage occurs, many have found an alternative in using Virtual Private Networks (VPN), which allows them to access the internet seemingly as if they were in another country. Russian Communication officials, however, stated that a response from the U.S based companies as they didn’t immediately answer on Tuesday to the decision made by Russia.
I love this picture of Maria Alyokhina being detained for flying paper airplanes in support of #Telegram in Russia. She looks like a Botticelli painting. Resistance is beatific. And the cops’ faces say, “My job sucks.” pic.twitter.com/PLPIUqFh1t
— Natalia Antonova (@NataliaAntonova) April 18, 2018
Russians respond to the country’s attempt to ban Telegram
Pavel Durov communicated on Tuesday that he was ready to donate millions, even through bitcoins and other sorts of digital currency in order to support people and companies who run proxies and VPNs. This was described by the CEO as a “Digital Resistance” in order to eventually achieve plain internet freedom.
It was also stated by Durov that there hasn’t been any significant drop in the numbers of users since the ban. In fact, there has been an increase in the number of VPN users in order to keep employing Telegram as the leading messaging app in Russia, as Russians remain to be 7 percent of Telegram users.
Telegram officials also thanked major tech companies for not taking part in the censorship sponsored by the Russian government