Russian Court Bans Telegram on Heels of $1.7 Billion ICO

Alexandr Ryumin  TASS

Alexandr Ryumin TASS

According to Meduza, the Latvia-based independent Russian news site, Roskomnadzor on Monday added a series of IP blocks to its blacklist that effectively ban around 800,000 Amazon Web Services IP addresses and more than one million Google Cloud IP addresses.

Telegram has 200 million users globally, with Russian Federation accounting for 9.5 million of that figure.

Telegram founder Pavel Durov, a Russian expatriate, does not sound inclined to give Moscow or any other government backdoor access to his platform, even if it were possible.

Repeatedly ignoring these orders, Telegram filed a lawsuit against the regulator and Russian government a few months ago.

By moving servers to Amazon and Google servers, Telegram was able to skirt the initial ban and provide service to Russian users over the weekend.

Roskomnadzor began implementing the court decision on April 16 by notifying Internet providers that they must "restrict access" to Telegram.

To enforce the ban, Roskomnadzor has blocked millions of IP addresses belonging to servers operated by Google and Amazon, the two US -based tech giants. As it happens, Telegram is also quite popular with officials of the Russian government, including the Kremlin.

The trial took place without Telegram's defense team.

Roskomnadzor said Tuesday that it had requested for Google and Apple to delete Telegram from their application stores, Interfax reported.

The instruction was issued by communications regulator Roskomnadzor in response to a district court ruling that Telegram should be restricted after it refused to grant Russian authorities access to its user data. The block may not immediately affect those tech savvy users, as Telegram plans to use methods to bypass the block.

In recent weeks, Telegram has approached the European Court of Human Rights to fight Russia's decision.

While Telegram is a non-profit service developed by a largely Russian team -including heads Pavel and Nikolai Durov -Russia's domestic spy agency, the FSB, ordered the company to hand over encryption keys a year ago, as required by Russian law.

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