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18 Jun, 2020 13:51

Russia lifts ban on Telegram messenger after two years of failing to effectively restrict access

Russia lifts ban on Telegram messenger after two years of failing to effectively restrict access

It’s been the butt of jokes for two years. Now, smartphone users across Russia can immediately get back to doing what they’ve been doing anyway, after media regulator Roskomnadzor removed its restrictions on the Telegram app.

The requirement for Russian mobile networks and internet service providers to block access to the messaging application didn’t stop people freely using the platform. This made the entire battle a subject of open ridicule.

The messenger service is regularly used by officials, media figures and lawmakers, and has even been utilized by the Russian government during the Covid-19 pandemic as a means of spreading the latest information about the virus.

The app, built by Russian entrepreneurs Nikolai and Pavel Durov, was banned on April 16, 2018 for its refusal to provide the country’s security services with its decryption keys.

Although officially restricted, Telegram has continued to work for most users within Russia. Regulators have repeatedly failed to stop access to the application, despite blocking millions of IPs.

According to a Roskomnadzor statement, the agency, in agreement with the Prosecutor General’s Office, opted to remove the requirement to restrict access to the platform.
“We positively assess the readiness expressed by the founder of Telegram to counter terrorism and extremism,” the regulator’s press release read.

Earlier this month, founder Pavel Durov said his team had improved methods of detecting and removing “extremist propaganda,” and asked the authorities to end the restrictions, explaining that unblocking Telegram in Russia would have a positive impact on the country’s national security.

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