Following a court order demanding that messaging service Telegram hand over its encryption keys to Russian authorities the service has since then been banned in the country. However the chief executive officer of Telegram, Pavel Durov, has defied the Russian government and refused to comply. In order to fund virtual private networks and proxies that Russians can use to access the service, Durov has indicated that bitcoin will be used to fund them.
According to Durov the ban hadn?t resulted in the messaging service seeing a significant fall in user engagement due to the workarounds that Russians have employed including proxies and virtual private networks. Durov also added that Telegram was making use of 3rd-party cloud services as a way of reaching some users.
Will defy ban to the bitter end
The chief executive of Telegram also revealed that approximately 7% of the users of Telegram are located in Russia. Durov argued that even if the authorities in Russia managed to completely shut off Telegram from the country the service will compensate for the loss in user numbers by growing in other regions in other parts of the world. In the meantime however Durov said he would do everything possible to ensure that Telegram remained accessible to Russians for as long as possible.
The workarounds that are being used to access Telegram has resulted in the communications regulator of Russia, Roskomnadzor, blocking sub-networks of Amazon and Google as they are being used to bypass the restrictions. This has resulted in the blocking of over 15 million internet protocol addresses.
Mobile app stores
Roskomnadzor has also demanded that Google Play and Apple?s App Store take down the mobile app of Telegram in their Russian online stores.
?We have currently informed both companies that a significant number of IP addresses located in the clouds of these two services have fallen under the block on the basis of the court ruling (to block Telegram),? the head of Roskomnadzor, Alexander Zharov, said.
Besides being popular with opposition members and journalists in Russia, Telegram is also widely used in the Middle East as a way of circumventing state detection.
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