Telegram messenger to be blocked?

Telegram messenger to be blocked?
Administrators of Russian Telegram channels and Telegram users turned to Pavel Durov with a petition Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Administrators of Russian Telegram channels and Telegram users ask founder of Telegram Pavel Durov not to allow this.

Administrators of Russian Telegram channels and Telegram users appealed to Pavel Durov with a petition - they ask the founder of Telegram not to allow the blocking of the service in Russia. The petition is posted on change.org.

Since the beginning of May 2017 the blocking of instant messengers that did not provide information about themselves for the register of information dissemination organizers (IDO) began in Russia, the authors of the document note. Requests for inclusion in the register are sent by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor), they recall.

Such a request, according to the authors of the document, the department sent to Telegram. How do they know this, they do not specify. "According to our data, Roskomnadzor has not received any response from the Telegram team. According to the law, they must make another request, and if the replay is not made, the agency will block the messenger," the authors of the petition said. Co-founder of Combot, Fedor Skuratov, one of the authors of the document, confirmed to Vedomosti that the petition was collective.

The authors of the channels explained the appeal to Durov by saying that "it is useless to apply to state agencies: they follow orders and execute laws, whatever these laws are", and "to apply to those who give orders is still useless - in Russia laws do not take into account the interests of the part of society that needs a protected and free territory for the exchange of information." In early May, Roskomnadzor entered BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), LINE, Imo.im and audiovisual chat Vchat into the register of banned sites.

Representative of Roskomnadzor Vadim Ampelonsky then explained that the access in Russia would be limited not only to the sites of these messengers, but also to their applications. Technically, they will be removed from the application stores or blocked by operators. Ampelonsky then said that according to the law, the organizers of the dissemination of information (including messengers) are obliged to provide the contact details necessary for entering into the relevant register.

"Those who do not react, are under lock-up - in full compliance with the law," he said. On Monday evening, Ampelonsky did not answer Vedomosti's questions about the possible blocking of Telegram and whether the agency sent a request to the messenger, adding that entry into the register or a lock can be discussed by the agency after they have been made.

Pavel Durov also did not answer the questions of Vedomosti.

Meanwhile, a person familiar with several channels' authors said that Telegram administrators are aware of a possible blockage, and they warned channel administrators about it. Whom he specifically means, he did not specify.

The Russian audience of active Telegram users in January 2017 reached 6 million people, Combot counted. The growth rate is high: a year before, there were 3 times less active users, approximately 60% of all downloaded applications in Russia and about 6% of the world database of active users of the service. The most active users of the messenger in Iran are 35-40 million people.

Tags: Roskomnadzor
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