Supreme Court rejects Telegram's complaint on FSB's order to pass encryption keys
The messenger tried to challenge the legality of the FSB's order to pass keys to decrypt users’ messages, yet the Supreme Court recognized this decision legitimate.
The Appeals Collegium of the Supreme Court of Russia dismissed the complaint of Telegram Messenger LLP management against a decision on the legality of FSB’s order to provide encryption keys to users’ messages. TASS reports this.
"To leave the court’s decision unchanged, the complaint of the representatives of Telegram - without satisfaction," the chairman of the Appeals Collegium announced. The decision of the Supreme Court came into force.
Ramil Akhmetgaliyev, an advocate of the international human rights group Agora, commenting on the decision, said that the authorities "missed a chance to work out and offer" the world a standard of interaction between law enforcement agencies and information-dissemination organizers. He stressed that it was important to find a format that would provide and protect both public and private interests, as well as ensure people’s right to privacy of correspondence.
"We need to find a balance in this relationship. And today we did not receive the main answer: what are the guarantees that there will be no abuse of information provided to FSB," said the lawyer.
He also stated that in the decision on the legality of the FSB's demands to Telegram will be considered at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), where the messenger has already sent a complaint.
"Further actions and new episodes in the big case of Telegram are now being discussed with the company's management. As for the today's court decision, we are currently studying the ruling and together with the principal are going to take further legal actions," Akhmetgaliyev added.
A representative of the FSB explained to the court that the agency is not going to read all the correspondence of users. "The request sent to Telegram refers to the correspondence of specific users. The FSB demands access only to a correspondence of persons for whom there is a judicial decision," a spokesperson of the special services said.
Initially, the defendants in the case had been charged with embezzlement through swindling in the amount of 225 million rubles ($3.3 million). In the final version of the indictment, the article was changed to 1.5-billion-ruble ($22.45 million) embezzlement.