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April 16 2018 - 12:04

Russia Begins Blocking Telegram App

Alexander Scherbak / TASS

Russia's state telecommunications regulator said on Monday that it had begun blocking access to messenger service Telegram, implementing a decision by a Russian court from last week.

On Friday, a Moscow court sided with the regulator, Roskomnadzor, in ordering to block Telegram in Russia “immediately." The court ruling follows a Federal Security Services (FSB) demand for Telegram to hand over the “encryption keys” that would allow authorities to read the private conversations of users after the April 2017 St. Petersburg metro terrorist attack.

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The watchdog, Roskomnadzor, in a statement posted on its website, said that it had sent telecoms operators notification about blocking access to the service.

Interfax cited Alexander Zharov, the head of Roskomnadzor, as saying that it would take several hours to complete the operation to block access to the app.

Zharov added that the watchdog plans to request Google Play and Apple’s AppStore to remove Telegram from their platforms. 

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

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