0711 GMT March 26, 2019
The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media, known in brief as Roskomnadzor, said it had filed a lawsuit against the Telegram free instant messaging application after the corporation failed in due time to provide Russian security services with its secret encryption keys.
Roskomnadzor’s demand for restrictions on the app is the latest move in a dispute between Telegram and the Russian authorities.
Pavel Durov, the Russian founder of the app, which allows its more than 200 million users across the globe to exchange messages, photos, and videos in groups of up to 5,000 people in real time, has long said he will resist attempts by Russian authorities to gain access to the codes.
Russian security agencies are concerned that the encrypted messaging capabilities of Telegram are being used for secure communication between radical elements to plan and execute terrorist activities.
In September 2017, Russia’s principal security agency, the FSB, demanded Telegram to hand over its encryption keys, according to the self-exiled owner of the app, who left Russia in 2014 and is now based in Saint Kitts and Nevis, an island/state located in the West Indies.
Durov wrote last year that the FSB’s demand for secret access to codes of the encrypted app were “technically impossible.”
Last June, the Russian communications regulator threatened to shut down the app for failing to provide registration documents to authorities. Telegram later registered; however, it resisted demands for access to its data storage.
This is while registered companies are required to provide information on user interactions to authorities.
A new anti-terror legislation passed in 2016 also requires Telegram to store all of the data of Russian users inside the country.