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Published On: Mon, Oct 16th, 2017

Moscow Magistrate Court filed Telegram for failing to provide encryption to FSB

nsnbc : A Magistrate Court in the Russian capital Moscow, on Monday, fined popular messaging app company Telegram 800,000 rubles ($14,000) for missing a deadline to provide decoding data targeting six phone numbers.

Telegram_Russia_Messaging_InternetTelegram founder Pavel Durov announced in September 2017 that Russia’s Federal Security Services (FSB) had filed an administrative violation over the summer, seeking encryption keys for the application.

The presiding judge cited a letter from July 12, 2017 in which the FSB demanded that Telegram provide the agency with data to decode messages releted to six telephone numbers by July 19.

Telegram now has ten days to appeal the verdict. Should the court decision be enforced, the Russian federal State media regulator – in Russian media often euphemistically describes as “watchdog” Roskomnadzor will give Telegram 15 days to turn over the encryption keys. There are concerns that Roskomnadzor could entirely block Telegram if its owner, Durov, refuses to submit and hand over the encryption keys to the FSB.

In July 2016 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a controversial law that allows the FSB to access users’ messaging data. Parts of the law a in force now, others come into force on July 1, 2018. The law was named after its sponsor, State Duma (Parliament) Deputy Irina Yarovaya.

Telegram complied with a law requiring it to register with a government database in June, but stopped short of adhering to data-storage or decryption rules. Roskomnadzor, began blocking messaging services which refused to provide company information for the government’s “Register of Information Disseminators” in May 2017. The case in Russia comes against the backdrop of an international trend to severely limit Internet users’ privacy and rights where the most restrictive countries – disturbingly – are setting the standards.

F/AK – nsnbc 16.10.2017

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