Telegram messaging app ordered to provide user data to Russian spy agency

Durov wrote a year ago that the FSB's demands are "technically impossible to carry out" and violate the Russian Constitution which entitles citizens to privacy of correspondence.

While Telegram has seen a blow in this situation, it plans to appeal the Supreme Court's decision, so this isn't over just yet.

Russia's media regulator ordered Telegram to give the Federal Security Service (FSB) access to users' messaging data within 15 days, prompting a defiant response from the popular app's co-founder. It was reported on March 20 that Telegram had lost an appeal in court against Russia's Federal Security Service (the spiritual successor to the KGB) which is asking for encryption keys as a result of President Vladimir Putin wanting access to his citizen's digital communications.

Also on Tuesday, Russian internet watchdog Roskomnadzor officially warned Telegram that unless it complies with the FSB and the court's orders, its work on Russian territory could be blocked. Collecting data on particular suspects using the encryption would still require a court order, the agency said.

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Meanwhile, the security agency told the court that gaining access to Telegram's encryption keys does not abuse user rights - it would need an additional court order to collect data. When Telegram faced threats of shutdown in the past, it developed an updated version of the app that allows users to bypass an eventual ban by using a virtual private network, or VPN. "Telegram will stand for freedom and privacy", he wrote.

Russian Federation adopted counter-terrorism amendments in 2016 obliging telecommunications companies to store call logs and data for months.

Tuesday's ruling is the latest move in a dispute between Telegram and the Russian authorities as Moscow pushes to increase surveillance of internet activities.

Putin signed laws in 2016 on fighting terrorism, which included a requirement for messaging services to provide the authorities with means to decrypt user correspondence.

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