Telegram founder Pavlov Durov has refused to comply with a Moscow court which has recently banned the popular cloud-based messaging service.
The ban was passed by the Moscow court in an apparent effort to thwart terrorism, citing the app as playing a role in terrorist activities around the globe. Security agencies had originally demanded Telegram allow them to access to user information.
Durov informed Telegram users that the reason for the ban was the company’s refusal to provide encryption keys to Russian agencies:
“For the past 24 hours, Telegram has been under a ban by internet providers in Russia… our refusal… was an easy decision. We promised our users 100% privacy and would rather cease to exist than violate this promise.”
Within the last two days, Russia blocked over 15 million IP addresses in attempts to ban Telegram on its territory. Regardless, Telegram remained available for the majority of Russia’s residents #digitalresistance https://t.co/2syVbVzXPg
— Pavel Durov (@durov) April 17, 2018
A day after the ban was put into effect, Durov announced that he would use Bitcoin to fund proxies and VPNs to get around the problem for his customers.
Telegram has been in conflict with Russian regulators for some time regarding the use of the app. Those seeking privacy around the world use the app for its encrypted messaging service offering high levels of privacy. The app is used in many countries in areas of conflict or government oppression as a method of secure and private communication.
In the latest development, Russian state communications regulator Roskomnadzor has blocked IP addresses owned by Google and Amazon, both used by Telegram. Interfax news reports that the Russian regulator has now blocked 18 sub-networks and some 15 to 20 million Google and Amazon IP addresses. Roskomnnadzor is a Russian federal executive body responsible for censorship in media and telecommunications.
As a result, Russian users, as well as being shut out of Telegram, can no longer use other services which route through Google and Amazon servers including the Viber messaging app. Latest reports that Microsoft and Windows updates and online games by Wargaming and Netflix may have been impacted.
Durov appears to be committed to servicing his customers despite all the hurdles thrown his way by Russian government agencies, including making donations of Bitcoin for individuals or companies running proxies and VPN:
“I am happy to donate millions of dollars this year to this cause… I called this Digital Resistance – a decentralized movement standing for digital freedoms and progress globally.”