An appeal filed by messaging platform Telegram in the Supreme Court objecting to demands by the Federal Security Services of Russia (FSB) to hand over its encryption keys has been rejected. This leaves Telegram with no choice but to give the FSB access to the encryption keys which will in turn expose the data and private messages of its users unless the ruling is overturned by an appeals court. The chief executive officer of Telegram, Pavel Durov, has said he will appeal.
According to a lawyer representing Telegram, Ramil Akhmetgaliev, the appeal process might last through the summer. On Twitter Durov was defiant.
?Threats to block Telegram unless it gives up private data of its users won?t bear fruit. Telegram will stand for freedom and privacy,? the CEO and founder of Telegram wrote.
Initial Coin Offering
Telegram is currently undertaking an ICO in which it hopes to raise approximately $2.55 billion. According to the messaging platform the funds will be used on developing a payments ecosystem based on virtual currencies that is similar to the WeChat Pay of China. Last month it raised approximately $850 million.
In Russia anti-terrorism laws were signed two years ago mandating messaging services to give authorities tools to access user correspondence via a backchannel. An auxiliary order sent out by the FSB was challenged by Telegram on the grounds that it was unprocedurally wrong and that it was a breach of constitutional rights.
But the FSB argued that giving the encryption keys did not amount of the violation of the privacy of users since the keys aren?t restricted access information by themselves. According to the security agency data collection on certain suspects by use of the encryption keys would still need a court order.
Currently Telegram has about 10 million users in Russia. The founder?s reputation of standing up to authorities has also made the app the most populating messaging platform in Iran. Telegram has also emerged as a popular app for groups that range from jihadis to enthusiasts of virtual currencies. Last year in June Telegram was threatened with a ban and this resulted in the CEO of the firm registering the company with the communications watchdog of Russia.
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