If you own a smartphone, chances are you have heard of popular messaging app WhatsApp. However, there’s one more popular messaging app called Telegram that’s preferred more by security and privacy enthusiasts. Telegram is known for offering secure messaging to its users, but, this app has been making headlines for some time now because of its security features.
There has been a legal battle going on between Telegram and Russian government. The reason? Well, Russia’s FSB (Federal Security Service) wants access to the decryption keys so that it can read the messages of Telegram’s users.
FSB wants to read the messages of Telegram users in a bid to fight terrorism and foil any future terrorist attacks on Russian soil. Well, it’s worth noting that given how secure Telegram is, it’s a safe haven for terrorists for communicating and sharing their attack plans with each other.
As Telegram has denied handing over the decryption keys time and again, and has also missed the deadline to do so, Russian telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor filed a lawsuit against Telegram to prevent Russians from using this secure messaging service across the country.
Following the lawsuit filed by Roskomnadzor, Moscow’s Tagansky court has ordered an immediate ban on Telegram “until the FSB’s demands are met on providing keys for decrypting user messages”.
At press time, there’s no word on when the ban will be imposed on Telegram in Russia, however, even after the service is banned, Russians can still continue to use Telegram by using VPN (virtual private network).
With that being said, even after the court ordering a ban on Telegram, the company’s founder and CEO Pavel Durov is still firm on his stand of not providing decryption keys to the government to read messages. Here’s what he said on his Telegram channel:
The power that local governments have over IT corporations is based on money. At any given moment, a government can crash their stocks by threatening to block revenue streams from its markets and thus force these companies to do strange things (remember how last year Apple moved iCloud servers to China).
At Telegram, we have the luxury of not caring about revenue streams or ad sales. Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed.