Google has announced that several of its services have been reportedly blocked for the company’s Russian users following the political controversy over the Telegram ban in the country. People in Moscow delivered a protest response by filling the streets with thousands of paper airplanes as called upon by entrepreneur and Telegram founder Pavel Durov.
Following the ban of Telegram and the blocking of Google and Amazon access to users in Russia, a response has been eagerly awaited. A Google spokesperson emailed a response addressing the subject, “We are aware of reports that some users in Russia are unable to access some Google products, and are investigating those reports.” Amazon, however, is yet to address the controversy.
Durov called for the people to send blank paper airplanes from their windows in Moscow at a pre-established time in support of the censored messaging app that was banned by the Russian government’s regulator Roskomnadzor (RKN). The response came after Telegram was asked to share the encryption keys of its users, to which the company strongly opposed causing the government to ban and label it as a “designated app for terrorists.”
For 7 days Russia has been trying to ban Telegram on its territory – with no luck so far. We were able to survive under the most aggressive attempt of internet censorship in Russian history with almost 18 million IP addresses blocked. https://t.co/swYBT65PB9
— Pavel Durov (@durov) April 22, 2018
Telegram founder calls for a digital resistance in Russia
RKN has in fact accused the messaging app of violating Russian laws by failing to deliver this information to access messages on the service to the government. However, according to Durov, this is a mere violation of civil rights of privacy. This ban triggered Durov to call upon a “Digital Resistance”, which has certainly taken its toll in Russia after nearly 18 million IP addresses have been knocked.
After Durov made a call for all proxy servers and tech companies to oppose censorship and privacy violations, some companies expressed their support and strong opinions against the Russian state regulator RKN, Ilya Andreev co-founder of Vee Security stated “RKN is embarrassingly bad at blocking Telegram, so most people keep using it without any intermediaries”.
Roskomnadzor's mad quest to punish @telegram for protecting user's rights has totally broken Russia's internet today. Enormous numbers of sites completely unrelated to Telegram are blocked in a morally and technically ignorant censorship effort. https://t.co/bJCQZxyzRM https://t.co/z7UFL7RtnY
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 17, 2018
Telegram supporters stand up against Russia
Vee security has been one of the main supporters of Telegram’s cause, it’s a proxy service that has been supporting 2 million users to bypass the state-imposed ban, however there are 14 million Telegram users in Russia, but this ban could eve prove to be profitable for proxy companies such as Vee Security being a more notable proxy server.
Durov also stated that he was willing to donate as much as it is necessary to help proxy and VPN servers improve their platforms in order to help users bypass the state-imposed ban.
Together with others, we are calling on @Amazon and @Google to stand with @Telegram and resist #Russia’s attempts to shut down the messaging app. Freedom of expression online is at stake. https://t.co/JxvQ0UVpin
— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) April 19, 2018
RKN, however, has instructed cloud Telegram cloud providers and App store distributors like Apple and Google to remove Telegram from their app stores, however many see this order as dictatorial, Andreev said that Russia’s continuous ban of apps and services could turn out with some negative repercussions.