Russia Seeks Apple’s Help in Blocking Telegram Messenger


Following Telegram’s refusal to offer backdoor access to the Federal Security Service (FSB) earlier this year, Russia initiated a nationwide ban on the end-to-end encrypted messaging app back in April. However, the government has so far only been able to disrupt the Moscow-based app’s operations by 15 to 30%.

According to Roskomnadzor, the country’s communications watchdog, the Kremlin has now asked Apple to pull the Telegram messaging app from the Russian App Store, WCCFTech reports.

“In order to anticipate Roskomnadzor’s likely response to the violations regarding the operation of the aforesaid Apple, Inc. services we are asking you to notify us within the tightest deadlines of the company’s further actions regarding the solution of these issues,” the watchdog’s press-service says.

“We sent them a legally binding letter and are awaiting their legally binding reply,” said Roskomnadzor’s director Alexander Zharov, adding that the iPhone maker has one month to pull the app from the Russian App Store. When asked what actions will be taken if Apple doesn’t comply, Zharov said, “For now, I would not like to forecast further actions”.

On April 13, a court in Moscow sustained a request from the telecom watchdog for blocking access to Telegram, which then sent its first notification on April 17 to AppStore and Google Play demanding permanent removal of the Telegram app.