Russia Ends Ineffective Ban on Telegram Encrypted Messaging App

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Russia this week lifted a nearly two-year ban on messenger app Telegram after it failed to prevent the encrypted platform from being widely used, reports Reuters.


Some Russian media portrayed the move as a capitulation, but the country's media regulator Roskomnadzor said the company had shown "willingness" to help with counterterrorism efforts.

"Roskomnadzor is dropping its demands to restrict access to Telegram messenger in agreement with Russia’s general prosecutor's office," it said in a statement.

The Telegram platform allows people to communicate with each other using end-to-end encryption, meaning no-one – not even Telegram – has access to messages sent between users.

In April 2018, Roskomnadzor began legal proceedings to block the app in the country, after Dubai-based Telegram refused to comply with requests that it hand over the encryption keys that would allow it to access users' data.

But despite blocking IP addresses and VPN services that Telegram may have used to hide traffic, the ensuing ban was largely ineffective.

Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said at the time that his company had chosen to do the "only possible thing" and refused to provide Russia with decryption keys to access user messages, "preserving the right of our users privacy in a troubled country."

Telegram has over 200 million users globally. They have included Kremlin staff, who used Telegram to coordinate conference calls with Vladimir Putin's spokesman. Many government officials also use the messenger app to communicate with media.

Top Rated Comments

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14 weeks ago
Why do I feel even more suspicious of Russia lifting a ban than I did while it was in place?
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago
“no-one – not even Telegram – has access to messages sent between users.”

“Telegram refused to comply with requests that it hand over the encryption keys that would allow it to access users' data.”

So.. which is it?
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago
Telegram’s chats are not end-to-end encrypted by default though like in WhatsApp or Signal, you need to choose to use it like in FB Messenger. Big difference
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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14 weeks ago
Translation: We're in comrade. ;)
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago


The Telegram platform allows people to communicate with each other using end-to-end encryption, meaning no-one – not even Telegram – has access to messages sent between users.

Why don't i believe them?

Because their roll-your-own-encryption scheme is probably full of weaknesses that the Russians (or through assistance of a "5I's" state) have cracked wide open.

It is often said that the only thing worse than no security is a false sense of security. I can't state strongly enough how bad Telegram is in that regard, because frankly, we don't know how secure Telegram is. Compared to an alternative like Signal, whose entire protocol is open-source and has been audited by third parties and whose apps not only encrypt by default, but have no other mode. I just can't understand why anyone would opt for Telegram when there's a more trustworthy, no cost alternative available.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago
I don't understand the obsession of some people/government with regard to other people's privacy or what they do/say in private.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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