Russian Federation wants Apple to pull Telegram from local App Store

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ICQ and TamTam have surged in popularity, and in fact Putin internet advisor Herman Klimenko was recommending that Telegram users switch to ICQ before the recent bans took effect.

Russia's state telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor said Monday that it had sent a notice to telecommunications operators in the country instructing them to block the service.

The decision followed repeated refusal by the company to hand over encryption keys for its messages to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB). A suicide bomber who killed 15 people on a subway train in St Petersburg last April used the app to communicate with accomplices, the FSB said previous year.

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"We need to find a way to have an encrypted messaging service that is not encrypted by the United States or Russian Federation", the spokeswoman said. Some Russian officials think so too, which means the government might hesitate to declare an official ban to avoid the embarrassment of Telegram users merrily messaging away despite their best efforts.

Durov has suggested Telegram users will find ways around a ban. Over the past few years, Telegram has been faced with security concerns since it became the most preferred app by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and as at October 2015, had 9000 followers on their official Telegram channel.

Last Friday Patently Apple reported that a Russian Court ordered the Telegram app to be blocked. Iran has also banned the Telegram service although it was later removed on January 13.

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In a statement on Monday, Telegram founder Pavel Durov said the block was unconstitutional, as it infringed Russians' right to privacy of correspondence, and vowed to help users continue using the service.

The authorities had claimed that Telegram was used by the terrorists who planned the St Petersburg metro attack in April 2017, which killed 15 people, according to news agency TASS.

Since then, most of his lawmakers have joined the app and the president himself can often be seen online on Telegram, sometimes in the early hours of the morning.

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