Welcome to Crmnigeria everyone. Many of us are familiar with the Telegram messaging app as it has become quite effective in massive messaging and updates. But did you know that Russia banned all its citizens from using the app in April 2018?
Telegram has been non functional to citizens in Russia for almost two years due to an ungoing data encryption battle and the tendency to be used by violent extremists.
The communications watchdog in Russia pleaded withtthe government to lift the ban on the popular messaging app Telegram after two years of numerous unsuccessful attempts to block its usage in the country.
The agency said in a statement, “As agreed with the Prosecutor General’s office, Roskomnadzor (Russia) withdraws the demand to restrict access to the Telegram messenger,”
In 2018, a court ordered the blocking of Telegram in Russia, siding positively with the authorities who demanded that the app be kept out of the country until it hands over the reigns to its data encryption. Officials alleged that Telegram, which was developed by Russian entrepreneur and technologist Pavel Durov, has been used by violent extremists to perpetrate online crimes.
The communications company refused to hand over encryption keys, arguing that it would violate users’ rights to privacy and would not help in any way weed out terrorists or online fraudsters.
After telecommunication providers were instructed to totally block the app in April 2018, it became briefly unavailable to individuals, but was back online within a few hours and has remained widely used ever since mainly by top government officials. It was noted that some government agencies kept running their official accounts on Telegram.
However, due to the pandemic, coronavirus task forces in many Russian regions have chosen Telegram to give their daily updates and news.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov admitted sometime in April that the app is still being widely used despite the ban. “There is a court ruling, and actions to block (the app) were based on it. But you’re right, it’s true, the situation de facto is different,” Peskov said to reporters.
Durov, Telegram’s founder, urged the authorities earlier this month to lift the ban and allow its 30 million Russian citizens “to use the service with more comfort.” Durov also noted that in recent years the Telergram team has significantly improved its tools for searching for and deleting extremist content and potentially dangerous accounts without tarnishing users’ privacy.
Telegram seems to have a lot of controversy surrounding its data encryption. Do you think Russia was right to ban it on the first place? Drop a comment below with your thoughts.