Popular messaging app Telegram has announced plans to develop its own blockchain platform and has also managed to raise a whopping $1.7 billion in its ICO presale till date. However, the tech giant has found itself in a big controversy as Russian authorities have now ordered ISPs to ban the messaging app as it refused to hand over the encryption keys required to scramble the message.
The company said that it would refrain from handing over the encryption keys and its services were built to provide its customers the privacy with no access to their encryption keys. While on the other hand, the Russian security officials claim that they need the encryption keys in order to monitor terrorist threats.
As reported by several local news agencies, the Tagansky District Court in Moscow has issued directives to the Kremlin’s internet monitoring organization Roskomnadzor to force domestic ISPs to block the access to the Telegram app in the near future.
The media regulator Roskomnadzor said that Telegram missed the deadline of April 4 to submit the encryption keys and that it failed to comply with the legal requirements as a “distributor of information”.
The FSB – Russia’s top security service said that Telegram has turned to be the messenger of choice for “international terrorist organisations in Russia”. The issue got escalated after a suicide bomber killed 15 people in the subway at St. Petersburg, earlier in April, and was supposedly using the Telegram app. There have also been reports of Telegram app being used by Islamic State (IS) Groups.
However, Telegram has hit back at the recent court ordering, with company lawyer Pavel Chikov referring the order to be completely “groundless”.
Chico said: “The FSB’s requirements to provide access to private conversations of users are unconstitutional, baseless, which cannot be fulfilled technically and legally.”
Telegram CEO Pavel Durov hit back at the Russian authorities with strong fighting words saying that freedom was “not for sale”.
Durov continued: “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.”