Telegram is banned from Russian Federation following court ruling

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After an 18-minute hearing on Friday, Judge Yulia Smolina ruled that access to the app would be blocked in Russian Federation until Telegram cooperates with Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) and provides the decryption keys.

To their dismay, Telegram refused to give them access to the encrypted messages, citing the importance of user privacy.

"The court made a decision to meet the requirements of Roskomnadzor, impose restrictions on access to Telegram messenger and stop providing technical conditions for the exchange of messages", judge Yulia Smolina was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency.

Roskomnadzor head Alexander Zharov said the ban would be enforced soon but would not say exactly when TASS reported.

Immediately after the ruling, Durov through his page on the VK.com told the Russian users that Telegram will use in-built methods to bypass the block.

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Durov had asked his lawyers not to attend Friday's court hearing because he said he saw the verdict as a foregone conclusion.

The Telegram app is a widely used messaging service because of its encryption feature.

The court ruling is not the first time Telegram has been mired in controversey, however.

The company has so far raised $1.7 billion in pre-sales via the offering, according to media reports. We will remind, the Russian special services failed in court to prove that the activity of the Telegram carries a potential threat to the lives of Russians.

"Limiting access was not the goal in and of itself", he said. "But unfortunately, this consensus was not reached".

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"After Russia earlier blocked LinkedIn and file-sharing site RuTracker, they lost a big chunk of their audience, even though some users turned to the TOR browser and proxy servers to access them", said Karen Kazaryan, an analyst at internet lobby group Raec. Other biggies like Facebook and Google have faced the wrath of the Russian government as well.

Roskomnadzor warned Telegram March 20 that it had 15 days to comply.

The FSB had requested that Telegram, which has more than 200 million users worldwide, hand over its encryption keys, which would allow the authorities to read all messages sent using Telegram. He added, however, that he still can not guarantee that Telegram users will retain access to the messenger without using VPNs.

The NYT said the ban will put the Kremlin in a slightly awkward position, because many inside the government, including those in President Vladimir Putin's press office, use Telegram.

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