BuzzFeed News

Reporting To You

world

Russia Is Trying To Block The Messaging App Telegram And People Are Not Happy About It

In the process, Russia's telecommunications watchdog managed to ban a number of online games, mobile services, and credit card terminals.

Posted on April 17, 2018, at 7:50 a.m. ET

On Friday, Moscow's Tagansky district court approved a request to block messaging app Telegram after the company refused to hand over encryption keys.

The app has been accused by the Russian Federal Security Service of aiding the work of terrorists with its encrypted messages. The app's creators say that the way it was created means they are unable to provide access to customers' encryption keys, and thus their private messages.
Yuri Kadobnov / AFP / Getty Images

The app has been accused by the Russian Federal Security Service of aiding the work of terrorists with its encrypted messages. The app's creators say that the way it was created means they are unable to provide access to customers' encryption keys, and thus their private messages.

On Monday, Roskomnadzor, the country's telecommunications watchdog, began blocking Telegram and, in the process, thousands Amazon and Google IP addresses after Telegram routed its traffic through the companies' cloud services.

Telegram started using Amazon's AWS to bypass Russian censorship. Now, if you were @roscomnadzor (highly unlikely because nobody's as dumb as these doorknobs), what would you do? Certainly not block 655352 IP addresses belonging to Amazon, right? That would be so stupid... oh https://t.co/AxEHfRUGnU

The action has affected a number of businesses, including credit card terminals, multiplayer online games, and other messaging apps like Viber.

Of course, some people responded to the ban with memes.

Some suggested other methods of communication.

Пацаны, гоу, я создал

"Let’s go guys, I created it."

Ну, поехали, граждане лентяи, террористы и прочие наркоманы

“So, let’s go, lazy people, terrorists and other drug addicts.”

Also on Monday, a number of people held a protest outside the Federal Security Service's headquarters, throwing paper airplanes — Telegram's logo — at the building.

facebook.com

In response to the ban, Telegram's founder, Pavel Durov, has posted a number of times on social media, saying the ban was "anti- constitutional."

It is telling that authoritarian governments (e.g. Russia) are trying to block Telegram over encryption, but are more relaxed when it comes to other encrypted messaging apps.

On a post on his VK page, Durov said:


This morning the Russian authorities blocked Telegram, therefore the service could be unstable with some telecom operators. The consequences of blocking are:

1. The quality of life for 15 million Russians will worsen as Telegram without VPN could be inaccessible at times.

2. The terrorist threat in Russia will remain at the same level as extremists will continue using all sorts of encrypted communication channels — in other messengers or via VPN.

3. The national security of Russia will in fact decrease, as some of the personal data of Russians will be moved from the neutral service (to the Russians) to US-controlled WhatsApp / Facebook.

We consider the decision to block [Telegram] anticonstitutional and will continue defending the right to privacy of correspondence for Russians.

Since the ban was announced, many Russians have been turning to VPNs, but officials have also promised to block these too.

Russia’s federal censor says it will use its authority to block VPN/proxy services that provide access to Telegram. This will be a game of cat and mouse that no one will “win,” but it will become so tedious that Telegram probably loses in the end. https://t.co/XyVH5SqkN7

However, despite the chaos caused, many Telegram users are still able to access the app.

Oh wait, Telegram still works in Russia but Viber and Amazon doesn't...

Half a day later: Telegram still works, just some images take longer to load. Guild Wars 2 still doesn't. For me and many other russians.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Telegram for further comment.

ADVERTISEMENT